Skip to main content

Full text of "The deer forests of Scotland"

See other formats


M 


LO 
O 

o 

CM 

3 


Digitized  by  the  Internet  Archive 

in  2007  with  funding  from 

IVIicrosoft  Corporation 


http://www.archive.org/details/deerforestsofscoOOgrimrich 


THE    DEER    FORESTS 

OF 

SCOTLAND 


Only  500  copies  of  this  book  will  ever  be  published. 


THE  DEER  FORESTS 


OF 


SCOTLAND 


BY 

A.   GRIMBLE 

AUTHOR    OF 

DEERSTALKING,"    "SHOOTING   AND   SALMON    FISHING 
AND    "HIGHLAND    SPORT" 


ILLUSTRATED 


LONDON 

KEGAN  PAUL,  TRENCH,  TRUBNER  &  CO. 

LIMITED 

Paternoster  House,  Charing  Cross  Road,  W.C. 
1896 


J,  a  >  ■ 

»     >  > 


LONDON  : 
PRINTED   BY  WILLIAM   CLOWES   AND   SONS,    LIMITED, 

STAMFOUD   STREET   AND   ClIAKING   CROS^. 


LIST   OF  CONTENTS. 


PACK 

Preface xvii 


CHAPTER  I.— ABERDEENSHIRE. 

Balmoral,  Ballochbuie  and  Abergeldie  .      .  r 

Glenmuick  and  Bachnagairn 4 

Glen  Tana 7 

Invercauld        Q 

Mar lo 

CHAPTER    H.— ARGYLLSHIRE. 

Ardtornish 12 

Black  Mount 13 

conaglen 21 

DaLNESS 2  2 

Glen  Etive 23 

KiNGAIRLOCH    AND    GlENSANDA 24 

Jura 25 

Laggan,  Lochbuie,  Isle  of  Mull  ....  44 


9S4740 


viii  UST  OF  CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

CHAPTER   III.— BANFFSHIRE. 

Glenfiddich 55 

Glenavon 57 

CHAPTER    IV.— BUTESHIRE. 

Isle  of  Arran 59 

CHAPTER  v.— CAITHNESS-SHIRE. 

Langwell  and  Braemore 64 

CHAPTER   VI.— FORFARSHIRE. 

Caenlochan 71 

Glencalley 75 

Invermark 76 

CHAPTER    VII.— INVERNESS-SHIRE. 

Abernethy 81 

Achnacarry     . 83 

Affaric ,  93 

Amhuinsuidh  and  Ardvourlie 94 

Ardverikie .  96 

Arisaig 97 

Arnisdale  and  Loch  Hourn      ......  98 


LIST  OF  CONTENTS.  ix 

PAGE 

Balmacaan lOO 

Ben  Alder io8 

BoBLAiNE 117 

Braulen 117 

Caennocroc,  North .      .  119 

coignafearn 121 

Corriechoillie 125 

CORROUR  WITH  BeNEVRICH 1 26 

CucHULLiN,  Isle  of  Skve 135 

Culachy 136 

Dundreggan  and  South  Caennocroc    .   '  .      .  141 

Erchless 142 

Farley 143 

Fasnakyle 143 

Gaick 146 

Glencannich 157 

Glendoe 158 

Glenfeshie 162 

Glengarry 168 

Glenmore 170 

Glenquoich 172 

b 


Ji  LIST  OF  CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

guisachan ^77 

Inchnacakdoch  and  Portclair 178 

Invereshie 179 

Invermoriston 180 

KiNVEACHY 183 

Knoydart 184 

Macdonald  or  Sconser,  Isle  of  Skye    .      ."     .  188 

Mamore  or  Kinlochmore 190 

MORAR 194 

Rothiemurcus 197 

Struy 198 

CHAPTER  VIII.— PERTHSHIRE. 

Atholl        .      ". 201 

Craganour 209 

Dalnacardoch  and  Stronphadrick.   .  .   .  209 

Fealar 210 

Glenartney .      .      .      .210 

GlENBRUAR 212 

Rannoch ....  214 

Tulladh-a-Beithe .  217 


LIST  OF  CONTENTS.  xi 


PAGE 


CHAPTER   IX.— ROSS-SHIRE. 

ACHANALT,    StRATHBRAN   AND    LoCH    ROSQUE         .  2I9 

achnashellach 226 

Alladale 227 

Aline,  Stornoway 228 

Amat 230 

Applecross 230 

Attadale  or  Bendronaig 232 

Ben  Damph  and  New  Kelso 234 

Benmore 237 

Ben  Wyvis 238 

Braemore    . 242 

Clunie 265 

corriehallzie 266 

Corriemullzie 267 

COULIN 267 

Deanich 269 

DiBIEDALE 270 

Drumrunie  or  Coulmore      .     .     ...     .     .  271 


xii  LIST  OF  CONTENTS. 


I'AGK 


dundonnell 273 

Fannich 274 

Flowerdale 276 

Glencalvie 280 

Glencarron 281 

Glenshieldaig 283 

Inchbae,   Strathrannoch   and   Tolmuick  .      .  283 

Inverlael  and  Glenbeg 286 

Kildermorie 286 

KlNLOCHEWE 287 

KiNLOCH-LUICHART 288 

Leckmelm 290 

Letterewe,  Fisherfield  and  Ardlair  .      ,      .  291 

MONAR 300 

Patt,  Killilan,  Riochan  and  Glomach    .      .  301 

Rhidorrach 302 

Scatwell 305 

Shieldaig 306 

StRATHCONAN 307 

Torridon -,q8 


LIST  OF  CONTENTS.  xiii 


PAGE 


CHAPTER   X.— SUTHERLAND. 

Ben  Hee  and  Corry  Kinloch 312 

Glen  Dhu,  Glen  Coul  and  Ben  Strome  .      .  317 

Gobernuisgach 321 

Kinloch 322 

Glencanisp 323 

Uppat 324 


/ 


LIST    OF    ILLUSTRATIONS. 


Scavengers  of  the  Forest    .      .      .    to  face  page      4 


A  Jura  Cromie 
Gaick  Forest  Lodge 


Glenquoich  Lodge      .... 
Mr.  D.  H.  Barry's  Three-Horn 


Braemore     

Calf  attacked  by  Eagle 
Lochmore  Lodge  . 


40 
148 
172 
198 
242 
278 
312 


PREFACE. 


The  kind  reception  given  to  my  book  of  "  Deer- 
stalking," in  1888,  by  deerstalkers  as  a  body, 
coupled  with  the  fact  that  sportsmen  in  general 
passed  a  favourable  verdict  on  "  Shooting  and 
Salmon  Fishing  "  in  1892,  and  on  "  Highland  Sport" 
in  1894,  has  induced  me  once  more  to  put  pen  to 
paper  on  a  subject  for  which  I  think  there  is  still 
room  in  the  literature  of  sport,  for,  as  far  as  I  am 
aware,  no  one  has  hitherto  attempted  to  describe  or 
relate  the  anecdotes  and  statistics  of  the  Scotch  Deer 
Forests.  Before,  however,  proceeding  further  with 
these  pages,  I  wish  to  say,  as  I  have  previously  said 
in  each  of  my  other  books,  that  I  wholly  disclaim  any 
pretension  to  literary  merit.  I  write  as  a  sportsman 
for  sportsmen,  resting  my  hopes  of  success  not  at  all 


c 


xviti  PREFACE. 


on  neatly  turned  ear-pleasing  phrases  (would  that 
the  gift  were  mine),  but  solely  on  the  ability  to 
state  in  plain  simple  words  a  number  of  facts  and 
fancies  collected  together  on  a  subject  in  which  I 
know  many  brother-sportsmen  are  greatly  interested. 
In  "Deerstalking"  I  tried,  to  the  best  of  my  power, 
to  describe  the  habits  and  wily  ways  of  the  wild 
Red  Deer  of  Scotland,  and  how  best  to  circumvent 
them ;  for  these  reasons  in  that  book  I  wrote  entirely 
of  stag  and  stalker,  saying  but  little  that  gave 
any  idea  of  the  wilds,  the  morasses,  and  wastes 
of  moorland  and  mountain,  over  which  the  red  deer 
range  in  unmolested  freedom  for  ten  months  of 
every  year.  In  a  word,  my  "  Deerstalking  " 
treated  of  the  inhabitants  of  a  territory  without 
describing  the  nature  of  the  country  in  which  they 
lived :  for  this  reason  those  gentlemen  who  have 
read  my  "Deerstalking"  need  not  be  under  any 
apprehension  when  perusing  the  following  pages  that 
they  will  be  likely  to  meet  with  old  matter  dressed 
up   in   a  new  form  for   book-making   purposes.     To 


PREFACE. 


speak  with  absolute  correctness,  I  ought  not  to  style 
myself  the  "author"  of  this  book;  "the  collector  of 
these  notes  "  would  be  the  better  term,  as  the  real 
authors  are  the  forest  owners  and  renters  themselves, 
with  nearly  every  one  of  whom  I  have  been  more 
or  less  in  correspondence.  At  the  present  moment 
there  are  just  130  deer  forests  in  Scotland,  covering 
2.552,383  acres,  and  of  each  one  I  hope  to  say 
something  reliable,  for  the  information  in  all  cases 
has  been  derived  from  the  very  best  of  sources, 
viz.,  either  from  owner  or  renter,  and  further  afield 
I  have  not  sought  to  go,  having  received  an 
early  caution  from  a  forest  owner,  who  wrote  me 
to  the  following  effect  when  kindly  sending  the 
particulars  of  his  own  forest :  "You  should  be  careful 
about  keepers'  and  gillies'  information  ;  one  man  near 
here  I  found  adding  in  a  newspaper  report  two  stone 
and  some  points  to  a  stag  killed  on  his  ground,  and  he 
laughed  and  said  it  was  necessary  'to  make  things 
good  for  the  papers.'  Some  stalkers  about  here  also 
allow  a  stone  if  a  stag  is  left  on  the  hill  for  a  night." 


PREFACE. 


The  reader  will  see  for  himself  that  the  knowledge 
gathered  has  in  some  instances  been  more  copiously 
given  than  in  others,  but  in  all  cases  my  best  and 
most  grateful  thanks  are  due  to  the  ladies  and 
gentlemen  who  have  so  courteously  and  so  kindly 
helped  me,  for  without  their  friendly  aid  I  should  have 
felt  it  almost  impossible  to  put  these  pages  together  in 
a  sufficiently  interesting  and  authentic  form  ;  and  now, 
at  the  end  of  my  task,  my  earnest  hope  is  that  in 
them  no  one  will  be  able  to  find  anything  to  which 
they  can  fairly  take  exception.  In  a  very  few  cases 
I  have  not  been  able  to  get  any  information  given 
me,  and  in  these  circumstances  I  have  stated  this  has 
been  the  case,  while  merely  mentioning  of  such  forests 
that  which  is  public  property  and  known  to  everyone 
who  cares  to  make  enquiries. 

The  wild,  romantic,  and  beautiful  scenery  of  the 
deer  forests  quickly  imbues  in  most  men  a  feeling 
of  admiration,  romance  and  desire  of  being  able 
to  soar  above  mere  prose,  so  as  to  describe  in  verse 
those   ever-changing   beauties  of  nature   with   which 


PREFACE.  xxi 

this  sport  brings  him  into  daily  contact,  and  I  can 
hardly  recall  to  mind  any  of  my  friends  who  have 
been  much  on  the  hill,  who  have  not  confessed 
to  having  had  their  feelings,  chivalrous,  poetic,  and 
romantic,  quickened  and  enhanced  as  "they  sat 
by  the  mossy  fountain  on  the  top  of  the  hill  of  the 
winds,"  while  searching  with  their  glasses  the  depths 
below  for  those  whose  "  skins  gleam  red  in  the 
sunshine."  Granted  that  the  presence  of  a  good 
stag  in  front  of  one  does  away  with  every  feeling  of 
romance  or  enjoyment  of  beautiful  scenery,  yet  it 
often  so  happens  that  stags  are  not  visible  for  many 
an  hour — or  the  stalker  may  be  called  on,  as  is  so 
often  the  case,  to  "  play  patience "  and  endure  the 
tedious  monotony  of  a  long  wait  on  a  lying  deer,  let 
us  say  on  the  banks  of  the  Sword  Loch  of  Corrour ; 
surely  then  it  will  help  him  to  pass  such  time 
more  quickly  and  pleasantly  if  he  be  acquainted  with 
the  story  of  how  the  loch  won  its  name,  and  so  enabled 
to  recall  to  life  and  picture  to  himself  the  curious 
scene,   such   a  mixture  of  treachery  with  chivalrous 


xxii  PREFACE. 


confidence,  that  was  once  enacted  on  the  banks  of 
Loch-an-Claimadh.  With  regard  to  these  stories, 
most  of  them  founded  on  actual  fact,  for  there  is  no 
deer  forest  in  the  north,  or  hardly  a  hill  in  any 
of  them,  but  what  has  at  one  time  or  other  been  a 
witness  to  deeds  and  events,  a  knowledge  of  which 
could  not  fail  to  make  the  country  more  interesting 
to  those  pursuing  their  sport  therein  ;  therefore,  as  far 
as  I  have  been  enabled  to  do  so,  I  have  mentioned 
all  such  details  of  bygone  days,  and  regretting  not  to 
have  been  qualified  to  do  more  in  the  same  direction, 
I  take  this  opportunity  of  humbly  suggesting  to 
forest  owners  and  renters  that  they  would  derive 
additional  pleasure  from  their  days  on  the  hill  if 
they  were  to  make  themselves  "well  acquaint"  with 
the  traditionary  incidents  of  the  old  times  of  the 
particular  forests  in  which  they  are  interested.  The 
counties,  together  with  the  deer  forests  in  each,  have 
been  dealt  with  alphabetically,  but  no  mention  has 
been  made  of  rentals,  for  many  are  never  let,  while 
those  that  have  tenants  are  subject  to  variations  just 


PREFACE.  xxiii 

the  same  as  other  marketable  things,  and  I  can  only 
assure  anyone  thinking  of  renting  deer  ground  that 
he  will  speedily  discover  that  to  find  out  "  how  much 
to  pay  ? "  is  the  easiest  part  of  the  business. 

It  has  been  a  custom  with  me  to  dedicate 
my  books  to  some  kind  friend  who  has  given  me 
happy  days  with  deer  or  grouse  or  salmon,  but 
death,  alas !  has  been  busy  in  their  ranks,  for  first 
Sir  Robert  Bateson  Harvey,  then  Henry  Spencer 
Lucy,  and  lastly,  in  October  of  this  year,  my  old 
friend  Colonel  John  Hargreaves,  for  so  long  the 
renter  of  Gaick  Forest  with  Glentromie  grouse  shoot- 
ings, have  each  joined  the  great  majority,  and  the 
longer  I  live,  the  truer  I  find  the  saying  that  "the 
deaths  of  our  friends  are  the  milestones  of  our  lives." 
Yet,  however,  I  am  loth  to  abandon  my  old  habit, 
and  therefore  I  dedicate  these  pages  to  His  Grace 
the  Duke  of  Westminster  as  a  trifling  acknowledg- 
ment of  the  kindness  shown  me  by  him,  the 
Duchess  and  all  their  family  at  Lochmore,  where  this 
past  season    I    had   the  good   fortune  to  stalk  over 


xxiv  PREFACE. 

one  of  the  most  wild  and  beautiful  parts  of  Suther- 
land. For  over  thirty  years  the  Duke  has  been 
the  renter  from  the  Duke  of  Sutherland  of  four 
forests  rolled  into  one,  namely,  Lochmore,  Stack, 
Ben  Hee,  and  Gobernuisgach,  or  the  whole  tract  of 
ground  once  known  as  "  Lord  Reay's  country ; "  and 
I  doubt  if  any  gentleman  has  a  better  knowledge  of 
deer  and  forest  management  generally,  and  this,  com- 
bined with  an  almost  too  chivalrous  regard  for  the 
deer  themselves  (for  from  the  moment  a  stag  roars 
at  Lochmore  he  is  safe  from  the  rifle,  and  stalking  is 
discontinued  some  time  in  the  first  week  of  October), 
has  ended  in  producing  an  average  yearly  kill  over 
the  whole  ground  of  nearly  two  hundred  of  the 
heaviest-bodied  stags  to  be  heard  of  in  Scotland. 


THE 

DEER  FORESTS  OF  SCOTLAND.:... 


•  •  •  • 


Chapter   I. 

ABERDEENSHIRE. 

In  this  county  there  are  only  five  deer  forests,  but 
as  they  spread  over  an  area  of  some  230,000  acres, 
it  will  be  seen  that,  though  numerically  small,  they 
are  very  large  in  extent.  Taking  them  then  ill 
alphabetical  order,  there  comes  first : — 

HER    majesty's    FORESTS    OF    BALMORAL,    BALLOCHBUIE, 
AND     ABERGELDIE. 

This  latter  ground  is  rented  from  Mr.  Hugh 
Mackay  Gordon,  and  the  three  forests  together 
represent  an  area  extending  to  about  50,000  acres 
of    lofty    mountains   covered    with    moss    and    grey 

B 


3  THE   DEER   FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

granite    boulders,    broken    up    by    corries    of    green 

grass  ;      the     less     high     hills     being     heather-clad, 

and    these    again    having    their   bases    clothed    with 

■yvpod  consisting  of   Scotch  fir  and   patches  of  birch 

'  bordering   on    two    sides   with    the   open   forest,   and 

"as    the    shelter    thus    offered    covers    some    15,000 

•  acres    of    ground,    it    more     than     takes    the    place 

of  a  sanctuary. 

The  forest  marches  on  the  south  and  east  with 
Glenmuick,  and  on  the  north  and  west  with  Inver- 
cauld.  The  highest  hills  are  Loch-na-gar,  3,800  feet, 
which  being  interpreted  by  Gaelic  scholars  is  by 
some  said  to  mean  "The  Moaning  Rock,"  and  by 
others  "  The  Loch  of  the  Rock  ;  "  then  comes  Cuidhe- 
Crom,  3,552  feet,  "Crooked  Wreath,"  followed  by 
Cairn  Taggert,  "  Priest's  Cairn,"  3,430  feet,  and 
many  hills  nearly  as  high.  Clearing  was  commenced 
in  this  forest  in  1848,  although  for  many  years 
previous  to  that  there  were  always  deer  on  the 
ground.  It  will  carry  three  rifles  every  day  of 
the   season,   and   sometimes   towards   the   middle   of 


A  DERDEENSHIRE. 


October  there  is  a  deer  drive.  The  head  forester's 
name  is  Donald  Stewart,  and  the  usual  kill  of  stags 
is  a  little  over  lOO,  which  show  an  average  of 
15  stone  without  heart  or  liver. 

This  being  the  first  time  that  the  weight  of  deer 
is  mentioned  in  these  pages,  I  will  ask  my  readers 
to  understand  that  in  all  subsequent  allusions  to 
this  matter  "  quite  clean  or  clean "  will  refer  only 
to  beasts  weighed  without  heart  or  liver,  and  in 
the  remainder  of  these  pages  wherever  the  weights 
of  deer  are  mentioned  and  not  stated  to  be  "  clean," 
the  different  methods  of  taking  the  weight  will  be 
duly  stated,  and,  moreover,  my  readers  will  find 
this  subject  of  the  various  modes  of  weighing  more 
fully  discussed  in  the  chapter  on  the  Forest  of 
Achnacarry. 

The  widest  head  killed  in  Her  Majesty's  forests 
has  measured  35^  inches  across,  and  the  thickest 
horn  6^  inches  in  circumference  immediately  above 
the  coronet,  which,  though  a  good  stout  horn,  is  not 
anything  extraordinary.     Golden  eagles  frequent  the 


4  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

forest  in  plenty,  often  nesting  in  the  giant  firs, 
which  they  seem  to  prefer  to  the  precipitous  cliffs 
usually  chosen  by  them.  During  the  last  decade 
pole-cats  have  been  sometimes  killed,  but  they  now 
appear  to  be  extinct ;  badgers  are  still  to  be  found ; 
while  foxes,  as  in  most  other  forests,  are  inconveniently 
plentiful  and  difficult  to  keep  down.  To  compare  the 
sport  of  one  forest  with  that  of  another  is  not  my 
province,  but  with  regard  to  the  deer  grounds  of 
the  county  under  discussion,  I  think  I  may  safely 
assert  that  in  respect  of  climatic  conditions  they  rank 
before  all  others,  and  that  on  the  summits  of  the 
Aberdeenshire  hills  less  rain  is  to  be  encountered, 
and  more  bracing,  finer,  health-giving  air  is  to  be 
met  with  than  can  be  found  anywhere  else  in  all 
Scotland. 

FOREST    OF    GLENMUICK    AND    BACHNAGAIRN. 

Glen-na-muig,  "  The  Stormy  Glen,"  or  according  to 
some  Gaelic  scholars  "The  Glen  of  the  Pig" — i.e.  the 
ancient  word  for  the  wild  boar — belongs  to  Sir  Allan 


.  •    •  •• 


•   .  •• 


'•.  • 

.:•• 

•••. 

•  •• 

•      • 

•  •  • 

•♦•. 

.:•'• 

..•• 

.••• 

..•• 

«•• 

• 

..•• 

ABERDEENSHIRE. 


Mackenzie,  and  extends  to  over  19,000  acres.  It  is 
somewhat  long  for  its  breadth,  and  on  the  east  and 
north-east  marches  with  Invermark  forest ;  on  the 
south  with  some  sheep  ground  and  Glendoll  forest, 
which  continues  to  bound  it  on  the  west ;  on  the 
north  it  runs  with  Balmoral.  At  one  time  this 
property  was  owned  by  the  Gordons  of  Aboyne,  and 
tradition  says — although  I  vouch  not  for  its  accuracy 
— that  one  day  the  laird  of  Aboyne  met  the  laird  of 
Invercauld,  both  being  belated  in  pursuit  of  deer,  at  a 
small  farm-house  on  Glenmuick,  and  finding  a  pack  of 
cards,  they  began  to  play.  Fortune  was  dead  against 
the  laird  of  Aboyne,  who,  exasperated  by  an  incessant 
run  of  bad  luck,  eventually  staked  as  his  last  coup 
the  property  of  Glenmuick  against  a  corresponding 
extent  of  Invercauld,  and  losing  the  game,  Glen- 
muick passed  into  the  hands  of  Invercauld,  from 
whom  it  was  purchased  by  the  late  Sir  James 
Mackenzie  in  1870.  That  gentleman  planted  large 
stretches  of  low-lying  moorland  with  larch,  spruce  and 
Scotch  fir,   which   thriving   wonderfully   well   affords 


6  THE   DEER   FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

at  present  splendid  winter  shelter  for  the  deer  ;  it 
likewise  offers  the  foresters  an  easy  chance  of  hand 
feeding  during  very  severe  winters,  and  although  this 
sort  of  feeding  is  never  very  satisfactory,  as  it  is  rarely 
that  the  beasts  in  sorest  need  get  the  food  so  given, 
yet  it  is  better  than  nothing.  Sad  to  relate,  the  big 
stag  is  a  selfish  fellow,  for  not  until  he  has  had  his  fill 
will  he  allow  his  weaker  kin  to  join  in  the  feast. 
When  this  forest  was  first  made  in  1870  it  yielded  only 
twenty  to  twenty-five  stags  each  season,  but  now  it 
gives  from  sixty  to  sixty-five,  with  an  average  weight 
of  1 4  stone  quite  clean,  and  the  heaviest  stag  ever  got 
on  it  scaled  19  stone  11  lbs.  Owing  to  the  narrow- 
ness in  some  places,  this  ground  requires  extra  care, 
with  great  knowledge  of  the  wind  ;  but  it  is  fine 
ground  to  stalk  over,  and  the  present  owner,  Sir 
Allan  Mackenzie,  in  one  day  was  once  fortunate 
enough  to  get  seven  stags,  averaging  16  stone  3  lbs., 
in  five  different  stalks. 


A  BERDEENSHIRE. 


FOREST    OF    GLEN    TANA    BY   ABOYNE. 

This  forest,  the  property  of  Sir  William  Cunliffe 
Brooks,  takes  its  name  from  the  river  Tana  which  runs 
through  it:  Tana  signifying  "small"  or  "shallow," 
as  compared  with  the  mighty  Dee  in  which  it  loses 
itself  about  a  mile  above  Aboyne  suspension  bridge. 
It  is  not  to  be  called  Glen  "Tanner"  as  if  it  were 
the  haunt  of  the  hide  dresser  or  the  Cockney  glen 
of  sixpence,  and  neither  is  it  spelt  with  an  r  as  if 
it  were  "  Annar  Mariar."  Tana  is  a  Gaelic  word,  and 
there  is  the  same  one  with  the  same  significance  in 
Welsh,  viz.  tanen — likewise  tonos  in  Greek  and  tiny 
in  English.  With  an  area  of  some  22,000  acres, 
it  is  about  thirteen  miles  long  by  some  seven  at  the 
greatest  breadth,  the  low-lying  parts  being  splendidly 
timbered,  chiefly  with  Scotch  fir,  which  portions  are 
well  fenced  off  from  the  arable  lands  around  Aboyne. 
From  these  low-lying  lands  the  forest  gradually 
spreads  to  the  west  and  south-west  until  it  reaches 
the  3077  feet  summit  of  Mount  Keen,  where  it  marches 
with  Invermark  Forest. 


8  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF   SCOTLAND. 

From  time  immemorial  there  have  been  deer  in 
Glen  Tana,  and  in  the  old  days  more  than  once 
it  has  been  attempted  to  extirpate  them  or  drive 
them  clean  off  the  place,  but  though  the  whole  country- 
side gathered  together  and  formed  a  compact  line, 
and  although  there  was  a  great  slaughter,  the  plan 
failed  and  the  deer  returned,  to  become  as  numerous  as 
ever.  For  the  last  ten  years  the  average  kill  has 
been  sixty-one  stags,  scaling  14  stone  clean.  The 
normal  character  of  the  horns  is  broad,  strong,  and 
wild,  and  the  heads  of  many  good  royals  adorn  the 
splendid  ballroom  of  Glen  Tana  House. 

At  one  time  the  fastnesses  of  Glen  Tana  were 
favourite  sites  for  the  operations  of  the  illicit  still,  but 
as  the  amount  of  the  fine  \wzx^2&^A  pari  passu  with  the 
activity  of  the  excisemen,  these  stills  gradually  dis- 
appeared, and  nothing  now  remains  but  a  few  ruins 
of  these  attempts  to  get  cheap  whisky.  I  have  had 
the  pleasure  of  spending  a  few  days  at  Glen  Tana,  and 
it  is  not  possible  for  me  to  leave  this  forest  without 
making   mention   of  all   the  other  sport    this    grand 


ABERDEENSHIRE. 


place  offers.  Of  grouse  and  every  other  description 
of  shooting  there  is  ample,  while  of  fishing  there  is 
perhaps  the  very  best  in  all  the  kingdom,  for  upwards 
of  a  thousand  spring  fish  have  been  killed  by  the 
rods  on  this  water  in  one  season,  and  any  keen 
sportsman  could  commence  at  Glen  Tana  on  the 
1 1  th  of  February,  the  opening  day  of  the  Dee,  and 
till  the  next  nth  of  February  came  round  he  could 
have  either  rifle,  gun,  or  rod  in  his  hands,  with 
first-rate  sport  every  day  of  the  year.  Truly  a 
sportsman's  paradise ! 

FOREST    OF    INVERCAULD. 

Of  this  forest,  belonging  to  Mr.  A.  H.  Farquharson, 
I  have  not  had  any  authentic  information  given  me. 
Having  applied  to  the  owner  and  a  gentleman  who 
once  rented  it,  and  receiving  no  answer  from  either,  I 
did  not  think  it  right  to  go  out  of  my  way  to  col- 
lect information  which  may  perhaps  have  been  with- 
held on  purpose,  though  more  probably  it  has  been 
done  by  inadvertence,  for  both  gentlemen  have  many 


lo  THE    DEER   FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 


important  matters  to  occupy  their  attention;  there- 
fore I  proceed  on  my  way,  much  regretting  that 
I  am  unable  to  say  more  of  this  ancient  and  well- 
known  forest  than  that  I  have  read  it  is  i8  miles  in 
length  from  east  to  west,  and  from  4  to  5  miles  wide, 

FOREST    OF    MAR. 

This  splendid  forest,  belonging  to  the  Duke  of  Fife, 
is  one  of  the  most  ancient,  if  not  actually  the  oldest, 
of  all  the  Scotch  forests.  It  consists  of  70,000  acres 
on  the  north  side  of  the  Dee,  with  other  40,000  acres 
on  the  south  side.  It  marches  with  the  forests  of 
Glenmore,  Glenavon,  Glenfeshie  and  Atholl,  and  in 
addition  to  a  large  sanctuary,  there  is  a  considerable 
extent  of  wood  on  both  sides  of  the  Dee  for  wintering. 
The  forest  is  full  of  high  and  rocky  hills,  and  of  these 
Ben-mac-Dhui,  4,298  ft.,  and  Cairn  Toul,  4,241,  are 
the  two  highest.  Ronald  McDonald  is  head  forester 
over  the  whole,  while  his  brother  Ewan  has  charge 
of  the  ground  on  the  south  side  of  the  Dee.  It  will 
carry  five  rifles  every  day  of  the  stalking  season,  and 


ABERDEENSHIRE.  ii 

With  a  favourable  wind  as  many  as  seven  have  often 
been  out.  Towards  the  end  of  the  season  a  deer 
drive  takes  place  at  times,  and  also  occasionally  deer 
are  "  moved  "  when  they  are  in  places  where  it  is  not 
possible  to  stalk  them.  The  annual  kill  of  stags  is 
about  200,  of  14  stone  clean,  while  in  the  low  ground 
stags  of  17  and  18  stone  are  got  each  season.  The 
Duke  of  Fife  is  himself  a  very  keen  hard-working 
stalker,  and  I  doubt  if  any  other  gentleman  of  the 
same  age  as  His  Grace  has  ever  killed  more  stags 
to  his  own  rifle. 


12      THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCO! LAND. 


Chapter  II. 
ARGYLLSHIRE. 

FOREST    OF    ARDTORNISH    BY    MORVEN. 

Of  this  little  forest  no  authentic  information  has 
reached  me  of  the  numbers  or  weights  of  the  stags 
killed.  Belonging  to  Mr.  T.  V.  Smith,  it  is  situated 
on  the  Sound  of  Mull ;  Loch  Aline  bounds  it  on  the 
west ;  the  waters  of  the  Sound  on  the  south,  and  Loch 
Linnhe  lies  on  the  south-east,  and  thus  these  lands 
form  a  peninsula,  although  not  a  very  pronounced 
one.  On  the  north-east  they  march  with  the  deer 
ground  of  Kingairloch,  and  on  the  north-west  with 
the  sheep-walks  of  Morven.  Although  the  highest 
hill  does  not  exceed  i,6oo  ft.,  yet  the  beauties  of 
this  property  are  great,  the  distant  views  afforded 
by    an    island-dotted    sea    more    than    compensating 


ARGYLLSHIRE.  13 


for   the   somewhat   desolate-looking    surroundings   of 
the  mainland. 

THE    BLACK    MOUNT    BY    TVNDRUM. 

This  magnificent  and  ancient  forest,  the  property  of 
the  Marquis  of  Breadalbane,  extends  to  some  80,000 
acres,  the  eastern  and  southern  boundaries  being 
entirely  under  sheep ;  on  the  west  and  north-west  the 
property  marches  with  the  forests  of  Dalness,  Etive, 
and  the  waters  of  Loch  Etive  ;  on  the  north  it  runs 
for  a  long  distance  with  a  narrow  strip  of  sheep 
ground,  on  the  other  side  of  which  lie  the  well- 
known  forests  of  Mamore,  Corrour,  with  Benevrich 
and  Rannoch,  a  buffer  state  which,  as  the  rutting 
season  begins,  the  stags  are  incessantly  crossing 
on  their  travels  from  one  deer  ground  to  the 
other. 

In  these  pages  I  have  endeavoured  to  keep  as 
much  as  possible  to  the  spelling  considered  correct  in 
the  county  containing  the  deer  forest  under  discussion, 
and  as  a  simple  illustration  of  the  difficulties  which 


1 4  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

beset  the  speller  of  Gaelic  names  I  will  take  the 
prefix  "  Ben  "  borne  by  most  of  the  high  Scotch  hills, 
which  some  Gaelic  specialists  maintain  means  moun- 
tain, while  others  hold  that  "ben"  is  merely  a 
corruption  of  "  ban,"  pale,  and  is  applied  to  only  those 
hills  that  continue  snow-capped  longer  than  the 
surrounding  ones.  Gaelic  spelling  and  pronunciation 
likewise  vary  greatly  according  to  the  county,  and  as 
proof  of  this  may  be  mentioned  the  different  methods 
of  spelling  and  articulating  the  Gaelic  for  the  "red 
mountain,"  for  spelt  in  Perthshire  "  Ben  Derg  "  and 
pronounced  "  Ben  Jerig,"  in  Ross-shire  these  become 
"  Beim  Dearg  "  and  "Bin  J  arrack  "  ;  again,  in  Perth- 
shire, a  very  good  Gaelic  scholar  taught  me  to  say 
"  Fie-eh,'  as  correct  for  Feidh,  deer,  while  an  equally 
well  informed  Ross-shire  authority  vowed  that  "  fay  " 
was  the  only  correct  method  of  articulating  the  word  ; 
and  so,  finding  that  a  smattering  of  Perthshire  Gaelic 
would  not  help  in  Ross-shire,  I  gave  up  any  attempt 
to  acquire  a  small  knowledge  of  the  throat-breaking, 
nostril-stretching  language. 


ARGYLLSHIRE.  15 


In  the  Black  Mount  there  are  many  high,  rocky 
and  precipitous  hills,  of  which  Stob  Ghabhar  (3,563 
feet)  and  Ben  Staray  (3,541  feet)  are  the  highest, 
and  around  the  bases  of  all  these  high  hills  are 
splendid  corries.  As  a  rule,  and  in  all  ordinary 
seasons,  this  forest  yields  100  stags  to  the  rifle,  but 
the  seasons  of  1893  and  1894  were  phenomenal,  and 
as  showing  what  a  great  difference  a  good  or  bad 
season  makes  to  even  a  very  old  forest,  Lord 
Breadalbane  has  very  kindly  given  me  the  following 
particulars  of  these  two  seasons. 

The  stalking  season  of  1893  in  the  Black  Mount 
was  one  of  the  wettest  ever  known  there,  and  the 
incessant  rain  with  the  accompanying  mists  so 
interfered  with  stalking  that  but  eighty-four  stags 
were  put  into  the  larder,  with  an  average  weight  of 
13  stone  6  lbs.  14  ozs.,  of  which  the  heaviest  was 
17  stone,  and  the  lightest  but  9  stone.  In  this  forest, 
however,  it  is  the  invariable  rule  that  everything 
shot  is  entered  into  the  book,  whether  laid  low  by 
mistake  or  not,  the   deer  being  then  weighed  quite 


1 6  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

clean  without  heart  or  liver,  and  the  average  at 
the  end  of  the  season  is  struck  so  exactly  that  ounces 
are  counted,  which  is  the  only  instance  I  have  met 
with  of  such  accurate  weighing.  In  many  forests 
small  beasts  killed  by  accident  are  not  entered  in 
the  deer  book,  and  of  course  such  an  omission  greatly 
increases  the  average  of  weight.  The  winter  of 
1893  ■^^s  o"^  of  the  worst  ever  experienced  in  this 
forest,  and  upwards  of  140  good  stags  were  found 
dead,  many  of  them  with  very  fine  heads,  while  as 
to  the  young  stags  that  perished,  it  was  not  possible 
to  make  any  estimate,  as  the  horns  were  all  that 
were  left  to  tell  the  tale  of  the  fate  of  their  bigger 
brethren.  The  stalking  season  of  '94  that  followed 
this  severe  winter  turned  out  to  be  one  of  the  driest 
ever  known,  and  for  the  greater  part  of  the  season  the 
wind  blew  from  the  north-east,  which  is  the  worst 
possible  one  for  this  forest,  and  but  seventy-four 
stags  were  killed,  with  an  average  weight  of  13 
stone  10  lbs.  \q\  ozs.,  of  which  the  heaviest  scaled 
16  St.  8  lbs.,  and  the  lightest  ii  st.  4  lbs.      It  was 


ARGYLLSHIRE.  17 


also  remarked  that  both  in  season  '93  and  '94 
the  heads,  usually  so  famed  for  their  size  and  wild 
beauty,  were  decidedly  below  the  average.  In  the 
dry  season  of  1894  the  weather  was  so  fine  that 
it  made  the  deer  very  hard  to  approach,  as  they 
did  not  frequent  their  usual  haunts ;  also  in  this 
season  it  was  a  noticeable  fact  that  nearly  all  the 
misses  were  caused  by  gentlemen  shooting  low,  and 
Lord  Breadalbane  when  in  conversation  with  the 
forester  of  an  adjoining  forest,  without  first  mention- 
ing the  matter,  heard  from  him  that  he  also  had  never 
seen  so  many  misses  as  during  that  season,  all  of 
which  he  likewise  attributed  to  low  shooting,  and  the 
fact  may  perhaps  be  accounted  for  by  some  peculiarity 
of  light  caused  by  the  remarkably  dry  season  ; 
the  matter  is  certainly  worthy  of  the  deerstalker's 
attention,  for  if  gentlemen  who  are  known  to  be 
trusty  with  their  rifles  miss  many  fair  chances,  it 
may  be  taken  as  certain  that  there  is  some  good 
reason  to  account  for  it.  In  1894  Lord  Breadalbane 
had    a    chance     of    testing    the    weight    of    a    stag 

D 


i8  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

before  and  after  the  gralloch ;  it  was  shot  on 
September  25,  and  weighed  as  he  fell  18  st. 
9f  lbs.,  but  when  clean  he  scaled  only  13  st.  8  lbs., 
leaving  5  st.  i^-  lbs.  as  the  weight  of  the  gralloch, 
including  heart  and  liver,  which  is  somewhat  under 
the  usual  estimate  of  one-third  of  the  gross  weight. 
Mr.  Scrope,  however,  estimates  the  gralloch  as 
one-fourth  the  entire  weight,  and  probably  it  varies 
according  to  the  size  and  condition  of  the  animal. 
It  is  somewhat  remarkable  that  each  of  the  seasons 
'93  and  '94  in  the  Black  Mount  should  have  been 
decidedly  below  the  average,  while  accounts  from 
other  forests  reported  great  numbers  of  heavy  deer 
to  have  been  got,  and  perhaps  it  was  late  in  the 
season,  and  after  stalking  had  been  discontinued  in 
the  Black  Mount,  that  the  numbers  were  obtained  ; 
for  some  forests  depend  almost  entirely  on  the  last 
ten  days  of  the  season  to  make  up  the  bag,  and 
then  of  course  many  stags  which  are  far  run  are 
bound  to  be  killed.  In  the  Black  Mount  the 
stalkers  have  the  strictest  orders  not  to  stalk:  stags 


ARGYLLSHIRE.  19 


that  are  not  in  perfect  condition,  and  such  an  order 
(although  it  greatly  improves  the  breed  of  deer, 
and  is  much  to  be  commended  and  where  possible 
imitated)  cannot  fail  in  early  rutting  seasons  to 
reduce  the  number  of  stags  killed.  The  golden 
eagle  breeds  securely  in  the  Black  Mount,  and 
although  most  of  the  old  naturalists  speak  of  the 
!'  eagle-stone "  as  possessing  both  magical  and 
medicinal  properties,  and  assert  that  from  the 
eagle  downwards  no  bird  of  prey  can  hatch  their 
young  without  a  stone  in  the  nest,  the  ornithologists 
of  the  present  day  make  no  mention  of  these  stones, 
and  it  would  be  interesting  to  find  out  how  such  a 
tradition  arose. 

:  In  the  old  days  of  clanship  during  the  period 
when  feuds  were  incessant,  the  Black  Mount,  like 
almost  every  other  part  of  the  Highlands,  was  not 
exempt  from  scenes  of  strife.  It  was  in  the  mountain 
fastnesses  of  these  lands  that  the  proscribed  clan 
Macgregor  took  shelter  after  they  had  nearly 
^terminated  the  Colquhouns  of  Luss  at  the  battle 


20      THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

of  Glenfruin  in  1603,  when  they  were   led  by   their 
chief  Alexander  Macgregor  of  Glenstrae. 

For  this  the  Macgregors  were  outlawed,  Alexander, 
their  chief,  was  taken  prisoner  and  treacherously  done  to 
death  in  Edinburgh.  Tradition  tells  that  some  years 
prior  to  the  death  of  this  gallant  man,  his  son,  while 
out  after  deer  one  day  in  the  Black  Mount,  met  the 
young  laird  of  Lamond  travelling  from  Cowal  to 
Inverlochy,  and  together  they  dined  at  a  house  lying 
between  Tyndruni  and  King's  House.  During  the 
evening  they  quarrelled,  dirks  were  drawn  on  both 
sides,  when  Macgregor  was  killed,  whereon  Lamond 
fled,  hotly  pursued  by  the  attendants  of  the  young  laird, 
but  outrunning  his  pursuers,  he  reached  the  house 
of  Alexander  Macgregor,  the  very  man  whose  son 
he  had  just  slain,  and  without  mentioning  what  had 
happened,  he  so  earnestly  begged  protection,  that 
the  chief  pledged  him  his  word  that  whatever  he  had 
done,  no  harm  should  befall  him  as  long  as  he  was 
with  him.  Then  arrived  the  pursuers  to  inform 
the  father  of  the  true  state  of  affairs,  but  Alexander, 


ARGYLLSHIRE.  21 


considering  his  word  was  pledged,  would  not  allow  the 
slayer  of  his  own  son  to  be  harmed,  and  restored 
young  Lamond  to  his  people  unhurt,  an  act  for  which 
the  name  of  Alexander  Macgregor  of  Glenstrae  has 
rightly  been  handed  down  to  posterity  as  a  typical 
example  of  a  gallant  Highlander's  unswerving  deter- 
mination to  keep  his  plighted  troth  at  all  hazards. 
Some  sixty  years  later  there  appeared  on  the  scene 
a  descendant  of  this  Alexander,  the  celebrated  "  Rob 
Roy,"  but  I  cannot  discover  that  he  was  ever  in  the 
Black  Mount,  and  indeed  his  energies  always  appear 
to  have  been  turned  more  to  his  neighbours'  cattle 
than  to  their  deer. 

CONAGLEN    BY    ARDGOUR. 

This  small  forest,  belonging  to  the  Earl  of  Morton, 
extends  to  between  ten  and  eleven  thousand  acres, 
with  a  highest  altitude  of  2,300  feet.  It  is  situated 
near  the  head  of  Loch  Linnhe  on  the  western  shore 
and  due  south  of  Loch  Eil.  No  authentic  information 
has  been  obtainable. 


22  THE   DEER   FORESTS   OF  SCOTLAND. 

DALNESS    OR    ROYAL    FOREST    BY   TAYNUILT. 

This  forest,  one  of  the  most  ancient  of  all  the  deer 
forests,  having  been  afforested  as  far  back  as  the  time 
of  James  IV.  of  Scotland,  belongs  to  Mrs.  Elizabeth 
Mary  Stuart,  and  consists  of  some  seven  to  eight 
thousand  acres  of  a  most  mountainous  district,  em- 
bracing the  western  ridges  of  the  Grampians.  These 
secluded  and  almost  inaccessible  fastnesses  with  their 
lovely  corries  have  ever  formed  a  natural  home  for 
the  red  deer,  imparting  also  a  wildness  to  their 
heads  which  greatly  enhances  their  beauty,  and  the 
fine  stout  long  brow  antlers  of  the  stags  of  Dalness, 
that  have  broken  out  of  the  forest  during  the  rutting 
season,  can  still  be  traced  in  the  surrounding  deer 
grounds.  Stalking  is  not  commenced  before  the  ist 
of  September  and  is  ended  on  loth  or  12th  of  October, 
according  to  the  year;  the  stags  average  16  stone 
quite  clean,  and  as  some  twenty  of  these  good  beasts 
may  be  got  each  season,  it  is  certainly  one  of  the  best 
small  forests  in  Scotland.  The  highest  altitude  in 
Dalness  is  3,345  feet,  but  the  whole  forest  is  composed 


ARGYLLSHIRE.  23 


of  hills  nearly  as  high — very  steep  and  very  stony. 
Of  late  years  it  has  not  been  let,  and  it  is  essentially 
a  young  man's  forest,  for  each  day  in  it  is  nothing 
more  or  less  than  stalking  a  succession  of  gigantic 
sugar  loaves,  and  the  stalker  has  no  sooner  toiled  to 
the  top  of  one  hill  than  he  finds  he  has  to  descend 
and  mount  a  fresh  one  equally  high  and  equally  steep. 
From  the  nature  of  the  ground  many  shots  have  to 
be  fired  nearly  directly  down  hill,  but,  nevertheless, 
it  is  a  grand  little  forest  for  anyone  who  is  still  on 
the  right  side  of  fifty. 

GLEN-ETIVE    FOREST    BY    TAYNUILT. 

This  is  a  small  forest  belonging  to  Mr.  E.  S. 
Greaves,  situated  at  the  head  of  Loch  Etive  and 
marching  on  the  north  with  Dalness ;  the  remainder 
of  the  forest  marches  on  the  other  three  sides  with 
very  rough  sheep  ground.  It  has  not  been  afforested 
many  years,  and  I  have  not  been  able  to  obtain  any 
authentic  information  as  to  the  number  of  deer  killed 
eacl\  season. 


24  THE   DEER   FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 


FORESTS  OF  KINGAIRLOCH  AND  GLENSANDA  BY  ARDGOUR. 

This  forest  in  the  Morven  district  marches  on 
the  south-west  with  that  of  Ardtornish,  the  remaining 
boundaries  being  sheep  ground.  It  belongs  to  Mr. 
J.  B.  Sherriff  and  is  at  present  rented  by  Mr.  Henry 
Piatt  of  Gorddinog.  The  total  extent  is  some  32,000 
acres,  Glensanda  having  been  afforested  about  ten 
years  ago  and  Kingairloch  at  two  different  times  since, 
and  except  where  Glensanda  marches  with  Ardtornish 
it  is  mostly  low  ground.  Kingairloch  rises  abruptly 
from  the  sea  shore  of  Loch  Linnhe  to  a  considerable 
height,  and  on  it  there  are  two  splendid  corries  which 
being  kept  as  a  sanctuary  hold  deer  of  all  sorts  the 
whole  year  through.  Owing  to  Mr.  Piatt's  careful 
nursing,  he  is  reaping  his  reward  in  sparing  the 
heaviest  stags  and  best  heads  by  an  annually  im- 
proving increase  in  weight.  Up  to  the  present  time 
thirty  stags  have  been  the  season's  total,  but  Mr. 
Piatt  hopes  to  make  this  up  to  thirty-five,  which 
number   he    considers    will    be    the    maximum.     The 


ARGYLLSHIRE.  25 


Stags  Stay  chiefly  in  Kingairloch,  while  Glensanda  is 
more  useful  for  keeping  hinds  and  nursery  purposes. 
The  deer  are  weighed  quite  clean,  and  a  stone  is 
then  added  to  the  weight  for  the  heart  and  liver, 
and  thus  estimated  they  averaged  14  stone  for  season 
'94,  the  heaviest  of  the  lot  weighing  1 9  stone  2  lbs. 

FOREST  OF  JURA  BY  PORTASKAIG. 

This  beautiful  western  isle,  described  by  Sir 
Thomas  Turner  in  1640  as  "that  horrible  island  only 
fit  for  the  habitation  of  deer  and  wild  beasts,"  now 
contains  the  largest,  best  and  most  southern  of  the 
island  deer  forests.  Owned  by  Mr.  James  Campbell 
of  Jura,  it  has  been  rented  for  many  years  past  by 
Mr.  Henry  Evans  of  Derby,  who  has  taken  the 
greatest  pride  and  interest  in  the  deer,  while  from  the 
unrivalled  facilities  an  island  forest  offers  for  the 
purposes  of  observation,  he  has  been  enabled  to  throw 
considerable  fresh  light  on  their  natural  history,  and 
the  result  of  these  investigations  Mr.  Evans  has 
garnered  together  in  the  shape  of  a  small  book  called 


26  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

"Jura  Red  Deer,"  which,  although  never  purchaseable, 
has  been  freely  distributed  amongst  his  personal 
friends  and  others  interested  in  the  matter. 

This  book  lies  before  me  as  I  write,  and  having 
the  author's  full  permission  to  make  use  of  it,  I  have 
not  hesitated  to  avail  myself  of  the  kind  offer.  Jura 
Forest — and  some  authorities  say  that  "  Jura  "  means 
"deer  island" — consists  of  27,000  acres  divided  into 
four  sections.  On  the  west  coast  lies  "  Scrinadale," 
4,500  acres,  and  to  the  south  of  that  section  lies 
"  Inner,"  7,000  acres.  On  the  east  side  of  the 
island  are  "  Gatehouse,"  7,000  acres,  and  "  Largy," 
9,000  acres.  Gatehouse  is  bounded  on  the  north  by 
Loch  Tarbert,  a  sea  loch  which  nearly  divides  Jura 
in  two. 

On  the  extreme  south  the  divisions  of  Inner  and 
Largy  are  bounded  by  the  sea-girt  sheep  ground  of 
Ardfin,  9,500  acres.  To  the  north  of  the  Gatehouse 
section  lies  the  sheep  ground  of  Corrienaheira  and 
Tarbert,  the  two  together  covering  some  24,000  acres. 
The    winters    are   occasionally    severe,    but    artificial 


ARGYLLSHIRE. 


feeding  cannot  be  resorted  to  owing  to  the  difficulty  of 
distributing  the  food  over  so  large  an  area.  With 
regard  to  the  age  of  deer,  Mr.  Evans  puts  the  outside 
duration  of  a  stag's  life  at  thirty  years,  which  I  believe 
is  much  more  in  accord  with  the  facts  than  the  reports 
and  traditions  of  stags  and  hinds  that  have  lived  to 
attain  ages  varying  from  fifty  to  over  one  hundred 
years,  Mr.  Evans  bases  his  theory  of  the  length 
of  stag  life  chiefly  on  the  fact  that  in  every  forest 
where  they  get  the  chance  of  living  long  enough, 
it  is  common  to  kill  them  with  some  or  even 
all  their  front  teeth  missing,  and  he  contends  that 
an  incomplete  mouth  is  an  absolute  indication  of  the 
first  sign  of  decay  ;  and  as  it  is  proved  that  stags  begin 
to  lose  their  teeth  even  at  fourteen  years  old,  it  is 
probable  that  they  do  not  attain  a  greater  age  than 
thirty  years.  On  the  sheep  ground  of  Tarbert  Mr. 
Evans  shot  a  stag  he  had  seen  every  season  for  sixteen 
years  ;  this  beast  had  been  caught  and  marked  as  a 
calf  by  Mr.  D.  Fletcher,  the  tenant  of  Tarbert,  so 
no  possible  mistake  could  be  made,  and  when  he  fell  in 


28  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

his  sixteenth  year  he  had  already  lost  one  tooth  and 
was  rather  lean.  Little  appears  to  be  known  about 
the  longevity  of  hinds,  but  as  apparently  they  are  quite 

m 

as  hardy  as  stags,  do  not  fight,  grow  no  horns,  and  do  not 
run  down  very  low  in  condition  every  season,  there  is  a 
possibility  that  they  are  naturally  longer  lived  than 
stags,  and  also  they  are  not  often  picked  up  dead  or 
killed  with  missing  teeth.*  It  is  possible  that  wood 
stags  maintain  their  prime  longer  than  those  living  on 
the  open  hills  ;  certain  it  is  that  they  come  to  maturity 
more  speedily,  and  a  remarkable  instance  of  this  rapid 
growth  of  a  wood  stag  happened  in  Jura.  A  calf  stag 
having  lost  its  mother,  strayed  on  to  the  Ardfin 
enclosures  and  pastured  amongst  the  crops  on  the  farm, 
and  became  well  known  to  all  about  the  place.  On 
the  30th  August,  1872,  when  he  was  eight  years 
old,  he  was  shot  by  mistake  in  a  mist  and  then 
weighed  perfectly  clean  26  stone  4  lbs. ;  his  head 
was  what  could  be  called  a  good  head,  but  nothing 

*  It  will   be   seen  later  on  that  two  cases  are  mentioned  in 
the  mainland  forests  of  hinds  having  lost  their  teeth. 


ARGYLLSHIRE.  29 

more.  As  to  hill  stags,  there  is  but  little  doubt 
that  these  attain  their  prime  at  twelve  years  old, 
and  this  they  maintain  for  five  years,  when  they 
begin  to  "go  back."  That  this  is  correct  I  quite 
believe  to  be  the  case,  and  I  remember  killing  a 
stag  at  Corrour  which  old  Allan  MacCallum,  the 
veteran  stalker  there,  told  me  he  had  known  for  nearly 
twenty  years.  This  beast  weighed  17  stone  10  lbs. 
quite  clean,  but  neither  horn  was  more  than  7  inches 
in  length,  while  five  of  his  eight  front  teeth  were 
missing,  and  his  face  was  nearly  white.  He  was  only 
fairly  fat,  and  well  do  I  remember  old  Allan  saying  that 
five  years  ago  he  would  have  been  20  stone  at  least. 
With  regard  to  the  age  of  Jura  hinds,  there  was  rather 
a  tame  hind  with  very  peculiar  ears,  and  Mr.  Evans 
knew  her  for  twenty-two  years,  and  she  was  a  large 
hind  with  a  calf  by  her  side  when  she  first  came  under 
observation.  During  the  twenty-two  years  she  reared 
twenty  calves  and  was  yeld  but  once.  In  November 
of  1889  she  fell  over  some  rocks  and  broke  her 
neck,  but  she  was  then  looking  very  ragged  and  feeble, 


30  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

and  had  with  her  a  poor  and  sickly  calf,  which  did  not 
long  survive  its  mother.  As  she  was  put  down  as  five 
years  old  when  first  observed,  she  must  have  been 
twenty-six  or  twenty-seven  years  old  at  the  time 
of  her  death,  but  in  spite  of  her  advanced  years 
she  had  a  perfect  set  of  teeth.  Mr.  Evans'  theory 
of  the  age  of  deer  does  not  at  all  agree  with  Mr. 
Scrope's  assertion  that  "stags  live  to  150  and  even 
180  years;"  and  in  support  of  his  theory  Scrope 
quotes  the  case  of  Captain  Macdonald  of  Tulloch  in 
Lochaber,  who  dying  at  the  age  of  eighty-six  knew 
the  white  hind  of  Loch  Treig  for  the  last  fifty  years 
of  his  life,  while  his  father  knew  her  for  an  equal  time, 
and  his  grandfather  knew  her  for  sixty  years  of  his 
time,  which  seems  to  make  this  white  lady  to  be  160 
years  old.  In  further  support  of  his  belief  Mr.  Scrope 
also  quotes  the  old  Highland  saying  as  if  he  fully 
believed  in  it,  that 

"  Thrice  the  age  of  a  dog  is  that  of  a  horse, 
Thrice  the  age  of  a  horse  is  that  of  a  man, 
Thrice  the  age  of  a  man  is  that  of  a  deer, 


ARGYLLSHIRE.  31 


Thrice  the  age  of  a  deer  is  that  of  an  eagle, 
Thrice  the  age  of  an  eagle  is  that  of  an  oak." 
The  first  two  propositions  contained  in  this  wisdom 
of  old  days  are  nearly  correct,  but  the  third  makes  deer 
live  to  over  200  years !  eagles  to  over  600  years  ! ! 
and  oaks  for  some  2000!!!  Therefore  the  probable 
explanation  of  the  reputed  long-lived  hind  of  Loch 
Treig  is  that  there  was  a  succession  of  white  ladies, 
always  supposed  to  be  one  and  the  same  animal. 

There  is  no  doubt  that  healthy  hinds  continue 
to  breed  nearly  as  long  as  they  live,  and  the  result 
in  calves  will  be  satisfactory  or  the  reverse  according 
to  the  exposed  or  sheltered  nature  of  the  ground 
during  severe  winters,  and  more  calves  will  die  that 
are  born  of  poor  hinds  than  of  those  belonging  to 
well-conditioned  ones,  which  is  established  by  the 
fact  that  the  Inner  division  of  Jura,  which  is  the 
most  exposed  breeding-ground,  shows  only  twenty- 
eight  calves  alive  to  every  hundred  hinds  in  the 
February  following  their  birth.  On  Largy  division, 
which    is    the    choicest,    best    sheltered    ground    of 


32  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

the  forest,  the  return  is  forty-five  calves  to  every 
hundred  hinds  ;  in  arriving  at  this  result,  Mr. 
Evans  has  reckoned  as  "  hinds "  all  the  female 
deer  of  one  year  old  and  upwards,  and  it  is  to  one 
hundred  of  these  that  the  rate  has  been  calculated, 
as  it  was  thought  this  method  of  reckoning  was  less 
liable  to  error  than  attempting  to  deduct  the  yearlings 
and  two-year-old  hinds  and  ascribing  the  calves  to 
the  balance  left,  though,  of  course,  the  calves  must 
be  due  to  that  balance,  whatever  it  may  be. 

In  Jura  hinds  usually  breed  when  twenty-eight 
months  old,  and  present  the  forest  with  their  first 
fruits  when  three  years  old,  and  I  believe  the  same 
rule  holds  good  for  the  deer  forests  of  the  mainland. 
With  regard  to  woods  for  winter  shelter.  Jura  is 
not  too  plentifully  provided,  the  sheep-ground  of 
Ardfin  being  best  off  in  this  respect.  In  the  early 
Jura  winter  the  sea  blasts  wither  up  the  herbage, 
while,  on  the  other  hand,  the  spring  feeding  is  ready 
much  earlier  than  in  the  mainland  forests.  March 
and   April   are,    however,   the  months  most  fatal  to 


ARGYLLSHIRE.  33 

deer,  and,  as  will  be  seen,  the  four  divisions  of  the 
forest  differ  very  much  in  fertility.  In  the  month  of 
February,  1890,  in  the  Inner  district  of  7,000  acres, 
there  were  counted  426  hinds,  118  calves,  together 
with  150  stags  of  all  sorts,  which  gives  10  acres  to 
each  deer  on  the  best  breeding-ground  in  the  forest. 
On  the  same  date  the  Scrinadale  section  of  4,500 
acres  showed  133  hinds,  61  calves,  and  96  stags  of 
all  sorts,  or  one  deer  to  15^  acres.  On  the  7,000 
acres  of  Gatehouse  there  were  counted  220  hinds  and 
96  calves,  with  1 94  stags,  or  1 4  acres  to  each  deer,  and 
in  addition  to  this  there  are  usually  some  fifty  good 
stags  from  Gatehouse  which  winter  on  the  sheep- 
ground  of  Corrienaheira.  In  Largy  division,  of  9,000 
acres,  the  count  was  170  hinds,  80  calves,  and  250 
stags,  or  one  deer  to  18  acres.  From  these  figures 
it  will  be  seen  that  Inner  and  Scrinadale,  both  on 
the  west  side  of  Jura,  give  a  total  of  559  hinds,  with 
1 79  calves ;  while  Gatehouse  and  Largy,  both  on  tne 
east  side  of  the  island,  give  398  hinds,  with  176 
calves,    and    the    great    contrast    in    fertility   shows 

F 


34  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

right  well  how  much  the  situation  and  lie  of  a  forest 
have  to  do  with  the  well-being  of  deer.  Wherever 
the  sea-shore  is  favourable  the  Jura  deer,  like  horses 
and  sheep,  eat  a  great  deal  of  seaweed,  and  likewise 
they  devour  all  horns  and  bones  of  dead  deer  pretty 
quickly,  and  are  not  even  at  all  particular  how  soon 
they  begin  on  them,  for  Mr.  Evans  once  found  a  large 
piece  of  deer's  hide  the  size  of  a  pocket  handkerchief 
chewed  full  of  holes  in  the  stomach  of  a  stag  he 
shot.  Twice  also  has  he  seen  stags  with  large  pieces 
of  skin  and  leg-bones  entangled  in  their  horns,  and 
he  relates  how  one  of  these  bone-carriers  was  the 
terror  of  his  friends,  for  when  he  trotted  or  galloped  the 
leg-bone  rattled  with  a  great  noise  against  his  horns  ; 
thus  one  day,  on  getting  wind  of  Mr.  Evans  and  his 
stalker,  this  stag  in  dashing  off  set  several  others 
on  the  run  :  these  were  urged  to  top  speed  by  the 
music  "  bones "  played  behind  them,  the  result 
being  a  desperate,  but  ludicrous,  race,  till  at  length 
hunter  and  hunted  disappeared  over  the  sky  line. 
On  the  Inner  beat,  in  1888,  a  fine  stag  was  found  dead 


ARGYLLSHIRE.  35 


with  the  skull  of  a  calf  firmly  fixed  in  his  mouth,  and 
several  times  others  have  been  picked  up  dead,  choked 
by  bones,  and  nearly  always  these  have  been  stags,  so 
that  it  is  an  error  to  suppose,  as  is  sometimes  thought, 
that  only  hinds  eat  bones  and  horns. 

Mr.  Evans  is  a  great  advocate  of  heather  burning  in 
a  forest,  and  having  pursued  this  plan  for  the  last  six 
years,  he  has  found  a  considerable  lessening  of  mor- 
tality ;  therefore,  with  this  knowledge  to  guide  them, 
other  forest  owners  might  well  give  heather  burning 
a  trial.  In  addition  to  the  husk  parasite  Mr.  Evans 
has  observed  five  other  varieties  in  the  island.  Neither 
fluke  nor  sturdy  are  rare  in  deer  of  all  sorts,  while 
stags  especially  are  liable  to  be  infested  by  a  very 
large  worm  adhering  to  the  throat  and  lower  part 
of  the  tongue.  This  worm,  usually  found  in  the 
spring,  is  nearly  as  thick  and  as  long  as  the  little 
finger,  with  a  most  repulsive,  leech-like  appearance, 
and  for  a  long  time  nothing  quite  certain  was  known 
of  how  it  came  to  be  in  the  stags'  throat. 

The   so-called    "bark"   of  a   suspicious  hind  is  a 


36  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND 

sound  but  too  well-known  to  deerstalkers,  but  Mr. 
Evans  relates  that  on  four  different  occasions  he  has 
heard  a  stag  bark  as  loudly  and  as  often  as  a  hind, 
and  of  this  I  have  never  before  heard,  and  I  imagine 
it  will  be  news  to  many. 

There  was  at  one  time  rather  a  heavy  death-rate 
amongst  the  deer  of  Jura,  where  there  is  an  average 
rainfall  of  65  inches  per  annum,  but  such  mortality 
could  not  be  attributed  to  wet  weather  only,  for  there 
are  other  forests  in  the  north  where  the  downpour  is 
much  heavier ;  therefore  Mr.  Evans  has  come  to  the 
conclusion  that  many  deer  die  of  the  hair-like  lung- 
worm  causing  the  disease  called  "husk,"  and  in  1890 
two  freshly  dead  stags  were  found  with  their  lungs 
full  of  these  parasites,  which  makes  it  a  matter  for 
regret  that  dead  deer  are  seldom  found  fresh  enough 
to  permit  of  any  prolonged  and  close  examination. 
Recently  Mr.  Percy  H.  Grimshaw,  when  pursuing 
his  investigations  on  this  parasite  in  Ross-shire, 
has  established  the  fact  that  this  worm  is  the  child 
of  the  bot-fly.      Deer  also  suffer  from  warbles  pro- 


ARGYLLSHIRE.  37 


duced  by  some  insect  probably  of  the  gad-fly  type, 
for  each  warble  contains  a  grub,  and  there  is  a  perfora- 
tion of  the  skin  immediately  above  the  warble.  It 
is  highly  probable  that  a  careful  study  of  parasites, 
accompanied  by  special  knowledge,  would  result  in 
discoveries  sufficiently  important  to  warrant  great 
alterations  in  the  management  of  sheep  and  deer, 
which  might  eventually  lead  to  the  permanent 
reduction  of  the  present  heavy  death-rate  prevailing 
amongst  these  animals.  Mr.  Evans  is  confident  that 
burning  considerable  tracts  of  heather  almost  entirely 
checks  parasite  mischief ;  but  of  course  there  must  be 
a  limit  to  this  remedy,  as  in  burnt  ground  there  is 
hardly  any  feeding  for  the  first  winter  after  burning, 
and,  therefore,  good  judgment  as  to  where  and  how 
much  to  burn  is  essential  to  the  success  of  this  plan. 

That  the  mortality  in  all  deer  forests  is  heavy 
may  be  taken  for  granted,  the  following  having  been 
the  death-rate  in  Jura,  which,  from  its  position,  should 
be  better  off  in  this  respect  than  the  forests  of  the 
mainland  : — 


38      THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

In  Jura  the  search  for  dead  deer  is  carried  on 
strictly  and  continuously,  and  if  this  were  not 
done,  it  would  be  quite  easy  to  overlook  many, 
for  it  is  surprising  how  quickly  the  bodies  disappear, 
only  to  leave  behind  them  for  a  short  time  a 
gruesome  carpet  of  hair ;  so  consequently  the  search, 
unless  carried  on  systematically,  is  nugatory,  and 
many  foresters  will  declare  it  is  rare  to  find  dead 
deer  on  their  grounds  simply  because  they  do  not 
half  search  for  them. 

In  the  ten  years  from  1879  to  1888  the  bodies 
of  222  stags,  326  hinds,  and  443  calves  were  found; 
or  a  total  of  991  deer,  which,  as  it  is  not  likely  that 
every  carcase  was  discovered,  gives  a  death-rate  of 
fully  one  hundred  deer  a  year.  Those  gentlemen 
who  rent  forests  for  one  season  only  too  often  appear 
to  think  that  stags  grow  out  of  the  heather,  and 
accordingly  they  shoot  every  good  one  they  get  a 
chance  at,  and  then  take  their  departure,  bequeathing 
their  leavings  to  the  next  tenant,  who  in  his  turn  will 
again  strive  his  utmost  to  kill  the  best  beasts  he  can 


ARGYLLSHIRE.  39 


get  at ;  thus  a  forest  that  changes  hands  often  is 
almost  sure  to  suffer  a  deterioration  in  the  quaUty 
of  its  deer,  and  I  would  suggest  to  those  forest 
owners  who  let  by  the  year  that  they  would  do 
well  to  have  a  strict  agreement  with  the  tenant,  not 
only  as  to  the  number  to  be  killed  but  also  as  to 
their  quality,  a  condition  which  should  apply  equally 
to  stags  and  hinds.  In  a  satisfactory  forest  the 
most  important  feature  must  ever  be  the  possession 
of  a  full  complement  of  fine  healthy  hinds,  and  such 
a  result  can  only  be  arrived  at  by  abstaining  from 
killing  them ;  as  soon  as  the  desired  result  has  been 
reached,  then  it  can  be  maintained  by  exercising 
great  care  in  not  selecting  the  flower  of  the  flock 
for  slaughter ;  better  by  far  to  kill  sixty  ragged 
poor  hinds  than  thirty  of  the  fattest  and  best. 
Of  course  overstocking  must  be  guarded  against,  but 
it  would  be  better  protection  to  kill  weakly  hinds 
and  even  weakly  calves  than  to  reduce  the  numbers 
of  strong  healthy  matrons.  The  Jura  hinds  average 
8  stone  I2  lbs.  quite  clean,  while  with  regard  to  twin 


40  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

calves,  Mr.  Evans  is  of  opinion,  after  long  observation, 
that  they  only  occur  but  once  in  several  hundred 
births. 

Mention  must  now  be  made  of  an  extra- 
ordinary curiosity  of  the  Jura  Forests,  called  "the 
cromie  stag,"  Gaelic  for  "  crooked."  In  Jura  only  do 
these  stags  exist ;  how  they  got  there  or  whence 
they  came  no  one  knows,  but  there  they  have  been 
from  time  immemorial,  and  confident  I  feel  either 
that  they  are  a  distinct  race,  or  that  some  stag  from 
foreign  lands  once  managed  to  get  to  Jura  in  days 
gone  by  and  left  his  mark  behind  him.  Even  in 
Jura  these  "  cromies "  are  very  scarce,  living  only 
in  certain  parts  of  the  island,  where  perhaps  three 
or  four  "cromies"  may  be  seen  to  one  hundred 
others,  and  the  whole  forest  may  not  contain  a 
score  of  them.  In  twelve  years  Mr.  Evans  has 
shot  but  eleven,  and  for  several  seasons  past  none 
at  all,  although  by  this  it  must  not  be  inferred  that 
absence  from  the  larder  means  absence  from  the 
hill,  for,   thanks   to    Mr.  Evans'  care,  there  are  still 


.•••     •♦. 


u 

o 
u 
<: 


«■      , t" ' 


,'•     ..<• 


►  V      *  • ' 


ARGYLLSHIRE.  41 


"cromies"    in    Jura.     The    horns    of    the    "cromie" 
slope  backwards  and  are  set  on  the  head  at  a  totally 
different  angle  to  those  of  the  ordinary  stag  ;  likewise 
the   beam  is  seldom  round   like   the  usual  horn,  but 
tends  to   varying  degrees  of  flatness,   and  in  a  cast 
horn,  kindly  sent  me  by  Mr.  Evans,  that  part  above 
the   coronet    is    nearly  quite    flat.      I    consider   these 
"cromie"   heads   so  curious,   so   interesting,   and   so 
difficult  to  convey  any  idea  of  by  words,  that  I  have 
deemed  the  head  of  the  "  crooked  one  "  well  worthy 
of  illustration,  and  the  drawing  shows  most  accurately 
the  remarkable  features  of  the  best  "  cromie  "  head 
ever    got    in    Jura,     and    though    at    first    sight    it 
may    appear    ugly   as    compared    with    that    of    the 
usual    monarch    of    the   glen,    I    am   sure   all    deer 
fanciers  will  eventually  agree  with  me  in  regarding 
the   head   as    a  wild   and    beautiful   one,   while   the 
sight    of    it    cannot    fail    to    arouse    speculation    as 
to  its  origin.     According  to  the  season,  the.  average 
weight    of    the    Jura    stags    varies    from     14    stone 
to    14    stone    7    lbs.,    but    this    does    not     include 

G 


42  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

the  small  stags  of  the  Paps  and  Scrinadale,  and 
other  very  stony  hill-tops.  Throughout  Jura  the 
deer  carry  very  heavy  coats  of  hair,  much  more  so 
than  those  of  the  mainland,  but  the  small  fellows 
that  frequent  these  stony  hills  are  extra  hairy,  and 
from  living  so  much  in  mist  they  have  become  light 
in  colour,  and  very  similar  to  the  Harris  stag 
both  in  body  and  horn ;  they  are  most  excellent 
venison,  while  as  showing  how  small  they  are,  it 
may  be  mentioned  that  a  very  pretty  royal  from 
the  Paps  weighed  but  1 1  stone  clean.  Mr.  Evans 
is  of  opinion,  in  which  I  agree,  that  only  a  certain 
number  of  stags  are  born  to  the  purple,  but  be  that 
as  it  may,  in  Jura  any  vigorous  monarch  is  more 
often  than  not  safe  from  the  rifle,  being  preserved 
for  breeding  purposes,  while  endeavours  are  made  to 
collect  the  shed  horns.  By  this  system  of  searching  for 
cast  horns  Mr.  Evans  has  discovered  that  even  "royals" 
have  their  bad  years,  and  that  their  heads  increase  or 
diminish  in  glory,  according  to  the  season.  It  must 
not,  however,  be  supposed  that  no  royals  have  been 


ARGYLLSHIRE.  43 


killed  in  Jura  during  the  last  ten  years,  for  that  is 
not  at  all  the  case,  albeit  certain  favoured  ones  have 
been  spared.  Mr.  Evans  states  that  he  had  a  three- 
year-old  very  tame  six-pointer  stag,  the  grandson 
of  a  Ross-shire  hind,  and  as  he  had  one  ear  cut  off 
to  render  him  bullet  proof,  there  can  be  no  possible 
doubt  as  to  his  identity.  This  stag  passed  two  years 
as  a  knobber  instead  of  one,  and  then  threw  out 
six  points  the  next  year,  which  is  a  somewhat 
awkward  fact  for  the  cock-sure  division  of  observers. 
Mr.  Evans  also  possesses  a  fossil  stag  antler,  dug 
up  in  Jura  gravel,  which  clearly  demonstrates  that 
the  Jura  red  deer  are  pre-historic.  To  improve 
the  breed,  deer  have  been  introduced  from  Athol, 
Black  Mount  and  Kildermorie  Forests,  and  how 
they  have  increased  since  1844  "i^y  be  imagined, 
when  in  that  year  it  is  a  fact  that  Mr.  Campbell's 
forester  searched  from  Ardfin  to  Screeb,  a  distance 
of  eight  miles,  before  he  could  find  a  shootable 
stag  for  the  Duke  of  Argyll's  wedding,  while  the 
forester  of  that  date  declared  there  were  not  sixty  stags 


44  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

on  the  whole  of  the  ground,  which  now  yields  sixty 
good  beasts  each  season.  In  taking  leave  of  this  bonnie 
island  forest,  which  the  kindness  of  Mr.  Evans  has  en- 
abled me  to  deal  with  at  length,  I  cannot  refrain  from 
expressing  a  strong  opinion  that  that  which  he  has 
found  beneficial  and  good  for  the  welfare  of  his 
island  deer  will  also  be  found  equally  advantageous 
for  their  relations  on  the  mainland. 

FOREST    OF    LAGGAN,    LOCHBUIE,    ISLE    OF    MULL. 

This  small  forest  on  the  south  side  of  the  Isle 
of  Mull  extends  to  a  little  over  6,000  acres, 
situated  on  a  very  pronounced  peninsula.  It 
is  the  property  of  Maclaine  of  Lochbuie,  and 
possesses  a  small  sanctuary,  while  the  hills  in  it 
run  from  1,500  feet  to  nearly  2,000  feet  high, 
with  rocky,  stony  summits,  and  bases  covered 
with  a  mixture  of  fine  grass  feeding,  natural 
wood  and  heathery  corries.  Although  there  have 
been  Maclaines  and  deer  in  Mull  from  the  days 
of    Noah,    this    ground    has    only    been    absolutely 


ARGYLLSHIRE.  45 


cleared  of  sheep  for  the  past  eight  years,  the 
present  owner  having  introduced  fresh  blood  from 
the  Black  Mount  and  Ashridge  and  Vanol 
Parks.  The  place  carries  one  rifle  comfortably, 
but  as  for  the  last  few  years  all  the  best  stags 
have  been  kept  for  breeding  purposes,  the  average 
weight  has  not  exceeded  15  stone,  weighed  quite 
clean.  On  the  deer  ground  there  are  also  some  wild 
goats  and  four-horned  sheep  from  St.  Kilda,  while 
both  species  of  the  eagle  nest  annually  in  the  rocky 
hills.  The  sea  views  to  be  enjoyed  by  the  stalker 
are  superb,  the  Isles  of  the  Sea,  Scarba,  Jura, 
Colonsay  and  Isla,  all  appearing  in  the  panorama. 
The  Maclaines  have  ever  played  a  stout  part  in  the 
feuds  and  wars  of  days  gone  by ;  Eachuin,  their 
chief,  fell  at  Flodden  in  a  gallant  attempt  to  save  the 
life  of  King  James  from  the  arrows  of  the  English 
bowmen,  the  clan  fought  for  Montrose,  and,  almost 
needless  to  say,  were  "out"  in  1715.  These,  how- 
ever, are  matters  that  will  not  appeal  so  much  to 
the  deerstalker  as  the  following  telling  poem  of  the 


46  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

chase  by  the  Marquis  of  Lome.     It  speaks  for  itself 
and  needs  no  praise. 

THE  WILD  REVENGE  OF  HECTOR  MALCOLM ; 

Or,  a  Legend  of  the  Maclaines  of  Lochbuie,  Isle  of  Mull. 
A  POEM  BY  THE  MARQUIS  OF  LORNE,  K.T. 


Part  I. 

Dark  with  shrouds  of  mist  surrounded 
E.ise  the  mountains  from  the  shore, 

Where  the  galleys  of  the  Islesmen 
Stand  updrawn,  their  voyage  o'er. 

Horns  this  morn  are  hoarsely  sounding 
From  Lochbuie's  ancient  wall, 

While  for  chase  the  guests  and  vassals 
Gather  in  the  court  and  hall. 

Hounds  whose  voices  could  give  warning 
From  far  moors  of  stags  at  bay, 

Quiver  in  each  iron  muscle, 
Howl,  impatient  of  delay. 

Henchmen,  waiting  for  the  signal, 
At  their  Chief's  imperious  word. 

Start,  to  drive  from  hill  and  corrie 
To  the  pass  the  watchful  herd. 


ARGYLLSHIRE.  47 


Closed  were  paths  as  with  a  netting, 
Vain  high  courage,  speed,  or  scent; 

Every  mesh  a  man  in  ambush, 
Ready,  with  a  crossbow  bent. 

"  Eachan,*  guard  that  glade  and  copsewood  ! 
At  your  peril,  let  none  by  1 " 
Cries  the  Chief,  while  in  the  heather 
Silently  the  huntsmen  lie. 

Shouting,  by  the  green  morasses, 
Where  the  fairies  dance  at  night, 

Yelling  'neath  the  oak  and  birches, 
Come  the  beaters  into  sight, 

And,  before  them,  rushing  wildly, 
Speeds  the  herd  of  driven  deer, 

Whose  wide  antlers  tossed  like  branches 
In  the  winter  of  the  year. 

Useless  was  the  vassal's  effort 

To  arrest  the  living  flow, 
And  it  passed  by  Eachan's  passage. 

Spite  of  hound,  and  shout,  and  blow. 

"Worse  than  woman!     Useless  caitiff! 
Why  allowed  you  them  to  pass  ? 
Back  !  no  answer  !     Hark,  men,  hither, 
Take  his  staff,  and  bind  him  fast." 

•  Gaelic  for  Hector. 


48  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

Hearing  was  with  them  obeying, 
And  the  hunter's  strong  limbs  lie, 

Bound  with  thongs  from  tawny  oxen, 
'Neath  the  Chieftain's  cruel  eye. 

"  More  than  two  score  stags  have  passed  him  : 
Mark  the  number  on  his  flesh 
With  red  stripes  of  this  good  ashwood. 
Mend  we  thus  this  broken  mesh  ! " 

"  Ah  !   Lochbuie  !   faint  and  sullen 

Beats  the  heart,  once  leal  and  free. 
That  had  yielded  life  exulting, 
If  it  bled  for  thine  and  thee. 

"  Deem'st  thou  that  no  honour  liveth, 
Save  in  haughty  breast  like  thine  ? 
Think'st  thou  men,  like  dogs  in  spirit, 
At  such  blows  but  wince  and  whine? 

"  Often,  in  the  dangerous  tempest, 
When  the  winds  before  the  blast, 
Surging,  charged  like  crested  horsemen 
Over  helm,  and  plank,  and  mast, 

"  He,  and  all  his  kin  before  him. 

Well  have  kept  the  Clansman's  faith. 
Serving  thee  in  every  danger, 

Shielding  thee  from  harm  and  skaith. 

"  Mid  the  glens  and  hills  in  combat, 

AVhere  the  blades  of  swordsmen  meet. 


ARGYLLSHIRE.  49 

Has  he  fought  with  thee  the  Campbells, 
Mingling  glory    with  defeat. 

"  But,  as  waters  round  Eorsa, 

Dark  and  deep,  then  blanch  in  foam, 
When  the  winds  Ben  More  has  harboured 
Burst  in  thunder  from  their  home ; 

"  So  the  brow  fear  never  clouded, 
Blackens  now  'neath  anger's  pall. 
And  the  lips,  to  speak  disdaining. 
Whiten  at  revenge's  call ! " 

Part  II. 

Late,  when  many  years  had  passed  him, 

And  the  chiefs  old  age  began. 
Seemed  his  youth  again  to  blossom. 

With  the  birth   of  his  fair  son. 

Late,  when  all  his  days  had  hardened 

Into  flint  his  nature  wild. 
Seemed  it  softer  grown  and  kinder, 

For  the  sake  of  that  one  child. 

And  again  a  hunting  morning 

Saw  Lochbuie  and  his  men. 
With  his  boy,  his  guests,  and  kinsmen. 

Hidden  o'er  a  coppiced  glen. 

Deep,  within  its  oaken  thickets, 
Ran  its  waters  to  the  sea; 

H 


so  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF   SCOTLAND. 


On  the  hill  the  Chief  lay  careless, 
While  the  child  watched  eagerly. 

'Neath  them,  on  the  shining  ocean, 

Island  beyond  island  lay, 
Where  the  peaks  of  Jura's  bosom 

Rose  o'er  holy  Oronsay. 

Where  the  greener  fields  of  Islay 

Pointed  to  the  far  Kintire, 
Fruitful  lands  of  after  ages, 

Wasted  then  with  sword  and  fire. 

For  the  spell,  that  once  had  gathered 
All  the  chiefs  beneath  the  sway 

Of  the  ancient  royal  sceptre 
Of  the  Isles,  had  passed  away. 

Once,  from  Rathline  to  the  southward. 
Westward  to  the  low  Tiree, 

Northward,  past  the  Alps  of  Coolin, 
Somerled  ruled  land  and  sea. 

Colonsay,  Lismore  and  Scarba, 
Bute  and  Cumrae,  Mull  and  Skye, 

Arran,  Jura,  Lew's  and  Islay, 
Shouted  then  one  battle  cry. 

But  those  Isles  that  still  united 

Fought  at  Harlaw  Scotland's  might. 

Broken  by  their  fierce  contentions, 
Singly  waged  disastrous  fight. 


ARGYLLSHIRE.  il 


And  the  teaching  of  forgiveness 
Grey  lona's  creed  became, 

Not  a  sign  for  men  to  reverence, 
But  a  burning  brand  of  shame. 


'o 


Still  among  the  names,  that  Ruin 
Had  not  numbered  in  her  train, 

Lived  the  great  Clan,  proud  as  ever, 
Of  the  race  of  strong  Maclaine. 

And  his  boy,  like  her  he  wedded, 
Though  of  nature  like  the  dove. 

Showed  the  eagle  spirit  flashing 
Through  a  heritage  of  love. 

Heir  of  all  the  vassals'  homage 
Rendered  to  the  grisly  sire, 

He  had  grown  his  people's  treasure, 
Fostered  as  their  hearts'  desire. 

Surely  safety  guards  his  footsteps. 

Enmity  he  hath  not  sown ; 
Yet  who  stealthily  glides  near  him, 

Whose  the  arm  around  him  thrown? 

It  is  Eachan,  who  has  wolf-like 
Seized  upon  a  helpless  prey ! 

Fearlessly  and  fast  he  bears  him. 
Where  a  cliff*  o'erhangs  the  bay. 


Called  to  this  day  "Malcolm's  Cliff." 


52  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

There,  while  the  sea-birds  scream  around  them, 
Holding  by  his  throat  the  boy, 

Eachan  turns,  and  to  the  father 
Shouts  in  scorn  and  mocking  joy  : 

"  Take  the  punishment  thou  gavest. 
Give  before  all  these  a  pledge 
For  my  freedom,  or  thy  darling 
Dying  falls  from  yonder  ledge  1 

"  Take  the  strokes  in  even  number, 
As  thou  gavest,  blow  for  blow ; 
Then  dishonoured  on  thine  honour, 
Swear  to  let  me  freely  go." 

Silent,  in  his  powerless  anger. 
Stood  the  chief,  with  all  his  folk, 

And  before  them  all  the  ransom 
Was  exacted  stroke  for  stroke. 

Then  again  the  voice  of  vengeance 
Pealed  from  Eachan's  lips  in  hate : 
"  Childless  and  dishonoured  villain, 
Expiation  comes  too  late  ! 

"  My  revenge  is  not  completed  !  " 
And  they  saw,  in  dumb  despair, 
How  he  hurled  his  victim  downward 
Headlong  through  the  empty  air. 

Then  they  heard  a  yell  of  laughter, 
As  they  turned  away  the  eye ; 


ARGYLLSHIRE.  53 


And  they  gazeJ  again,  where  nothing 
Met  their  sight  but  cliff  and  sky  ! 

For  the  murderer  dared  to  follow, 

Where  the  youthful  spirit  fled 
To  the  throne  of  the  Avenger, 

To  the  Judge  of  Quick  and  Dead. 

There  are  deer  more  or  less  all  over  the  island 
of  Mull,  and  it  is  satisfactory  to  relate  that  their 
numbers  are  increasing.  At  Glenforsa  Colonel 
Greenhill  Gardynne,  whose  Glenforsa  check  of  brown, 
blue  and  white  is  hardly  discernible  from  a  rock, 
has  always  deer  on  his  ground,  and  has  at  various 
times  mingled  fresh  blood  from  the  parks  of 
Windsor,  Powerscourt,  and  Stoke,  and  this  property 
is  well  suited  to  a  forest,  as  there  are  many  rough 
and  high  hills  in  it,  the  two  tallest,  Dun-dha-gavith 
(the  hill  of  the  two  winds)  and  Ben  Tulla  (the  hill 
of  rich  soil),  each  rising  to  2,000  feet,  with  their 
bases  full  of  fine  corries  and  well-wooded  slopes. 

At  Gruline  (which  was  formerly  part  of  the 
Glenforsa  estate)  Mr.  Melles  also  always  has  deer, 
no   less   than   fifty-two   being   in   sight   at   once  one 


54  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

day  last  spring.  On  the  mainland  of  Argyll  there 
are  likewise  many  grounds  on  which,  although  not 
afforested,  a  good  few  stags  are  annually  got.  Of 
these,  the  chief  are  Strontian,  at  present  rented  by 
Colonel  Henry,  Belsgrove,  let  to  Sir  R.  M.  Brooke, 
and  Ardshellach,  let  to  Lord  Howard  of  Glossop ; 
the  yield  of  these  three  grounds,  which  march  with 
each  other  and  belong  to  Sir  Rodney  S.  Riddell, 
being  some  thirty  to  forty  stags  annually.  Also  on 
the  shootings  of  Ardgour,  Achdalieu,  Acharacle,  and 
Craig  by  Dalmally,  a  fair  number  of  stags  are 
killed  each  season. 


55 


Chapter    III. 
BANFFSHIRE. 

FOREST    OF   GLENFIDDICH,    BY    DUFFTOWN. 

There  are  but  two  deer  forests  in  this  county,  both 
belonging  to  the  Duke  of  Richmond  and  Gordon, 
Prior  however  to  1745,  the  Earls  of  Huntly  owned 
all  the  country  lying  between  Ben  Avon  in  Banffshire, 
right  across  Scotland  to  Ben  Nevis,  a  distance  of 
some  seventy  miles,  and  in  this  tract  were  included 
the  districts  of  Glenmore,  Glen  Feshie,  Gaick, 
Drumchalder,  Ben  Alder,  and  Loch  Treig,  in  all 
some  200  square  miles.  This  vast  property  the 
Earls  of  Huntly  ruled  with  absolute  power,  and 
severe  were  the  penalties  these  chieftains  made 
against  deer  poaching  ;  men  were  hung  for  the  offence, 
and  history  relates  that  one  John  Our,  being  detected 


56  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

in  "  honest  theft,"  as  deer  stealing  was  then  called 
by  the  poachers,  had  one  of  his  eyes  put  out  and 
his  right  arm  cut  off,  but  surviving  these  barbarities 
by  the  aid  of  a  strong  constitution,  and  having  an 
ineradicable  love  for  the  chase,  he  yet  in  spite  of  his 
crippled  state  managed  to  kill  many  more  deer.  This 
vast  property  eventually  became  split  up  between  the 
predecessors  of  the  present  Marquis  of  Huntly  and 
those  of  the  present  Duke  of  Richmond  and  Gordon, 
whose  ancestor  was  a  son  of  a  sister  of  one  of 
the  Lords  of  Huntly,  and  by  degrees  the  western 
parts  of  the  estate  were  sold.  The  forest  of  Glen- 
fiddich,  which  lies  some  dozen  miles  south  of 
Craigellachie  on  Speyside,  is  retained  by  the  Duke 
for  his  own  use.  It  takes  its  name  from  the  Fiddich, 
a  tributary  of  the  Spey,  which  rises  in  and  runs 
through  the  whole  forest,  which  extends  to  some 
25,000  acres  of  moor  and  moss,  with  some  small 
quantity  of  wood.  Although  entirely  surrounded  by 
sheep  farms,  these  lands  contain  some  high  and 
rough   ground,    Corryhavvie  being  over   2,500    feet, 


BANFFSHIRE.  57 


and  Cook's  Cairn  just  under  that  height.  It  has  been 
a  forest  from  time  immemorial,  and  will  easily  carry 
two  rifles  every  day  of  the  season,  while  as  it  is  very 
carefully  shot,  no  sanctuary  is  required.  No  driving 
is  done.  Lovat  mixture  is  the  best  coloured  cloth 
to  wear,  and  the  annual  average  kill  is  fifty  stags, 
which  are  weighed  clean,  but  information  has  not 
reached  me  as  to  the  mean  weight. 

FOREST    OF    GLENAVON    BY    BALLINDALLOCII. 

This  fine  forest,  of  which  the  late  Lord  Henry 
Bentinck  was  for  a  long  time  the  tenant,  is  at  present 
rented  by  Mr.  Godman,  and  marching  on  the  north 
with  the  forests  of  Abernethy  and  Glenmore,  on 
the  south  it  runs  with  those  of  Mar  and  Invercauld. 
It  contains  40,000  acres  of  wild  rocky  ground,  in 
which  lie  some  of  the  highest  hills  in  Scotland,  and 
on  their  steep  sides  several  pairs  of  eagles  nest  each 
season. 

Ben  Macdhui,  4,296  feet,  Cairn  Gorm,  4,084  feet, 
and  Ben  Avon,  3,845  feet,  together  with  many  other 

I 


58  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

hills  nearly  as  high,  are  all  within  the  confines  of 
this  property,  the  lower  lying  portions  of  which 
abound  in  fine  corries  and  splendid  pasture.  The 
estate,  which  was  cleared  in  1841,  hardly  grows  any 
wood,  but  quiet  and  shelter  are  offered  the  deer  in 
a  sanctuary  of  some  5,000  acres.  Three  rifles  can 
go  out  daily,  while  just  at  the  end  of  the  season 
a  fourth  can  join  in  the  sport.  No  driving  is  done, 
and  the  limit  of  eighty-five  stags  is  nearly  always 
reached  by  fair  stalking.  At  the  foot  of  Cairn- 
Gorm  lies  Loch  Avon,  in  close  proximity  to  which 
is  the  celebrated  "shelter  stone,"  in  which  a  dozen 
men  can  rest,  and  here  in  the  days  of  Highland 
feuds  and  cattle  lifting  many  good  Highlanders, 
intent  on  bloodshed  or  pillage,  passed  their  nights. 
For  some  twenty  miles  the  Avon  River,  renowned 
for  the  clearness  of  its  waters,  runs  through  the 
forest  till  it  reaches  the  Lynn  of  Avon,  near  the 
forest  lodge,  and  there  each  autumn  congregate  many 
spawning  salmon  from  the  Spey. 


59 


Chapter   IV. 

BUTESHIRE. 

Here  there  is  but  a  single  forest,  the  celebrated  one  of 
Arran,  belonging,  but  a  short  time  past,  to  the  late  Duke 
of  Hamilton,  and  left  by  him  to  his  infant  daughter, 
the  Lady  Mary  Louise  Douglas-Hamilton.  Although 
there  have  ever  been  a  few  deer  in  Arran,  it  was 
first  regularly  afforested  in  February,  1859,  and  in 
that  month  Captain  Robert  Sandeman  took  to  the 
island,  for  the  late  Duke,  fourteen  hinds  in  calf, 
along  with  six  young  stags  from  Knowsley  Park, 
^nd  now  deer  are  more  or  less  over  the  whole 
property,  although  they  stay  chiefly  between 
Brodick  Castle  and  the  Lodge  of  Dubhgharadh, 
in  which  latter  part  there  is  the  sanctuary  of  some 
3,000  acres,  while  at  Brodick  a  quantity  of  natural 


6o  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

birch,  Scotch  fir  and  larch  plantation  affords  splendid 
wintering. 

Grey  cloth  is  best  suited  to  the  ground.  The  highest 
hill  is  the  well-known  Goatfell,  2,866  feet,  or  the 
hill  of  the  wind.  No  driving  is  done,  and  the  average 
kill  is  45  stags,  with  a  mean  weight  of  17.  stone 
4  lbs.,  heart  and  liver  included.  Having  started  his 
forest  in  February,  1859,  the  late  Duke,  whom  I 
had  the  pleasure  of  knowing  for  many  years,  and 
who  was  a  fine  rifle  shot,  commenced  stalking  in 
1862,  and  up  to  1880  he  killed  many  very  big 
stags,  of  which  the  heaviest  weighed  29  stone  8  lbs. 
From  that  date  both  heads  and  bodies  began  to  get 
smaller,  and  since  then  fresh  blood  has  been  introduced 
on  nine  different  occasions.  John  Mackenzie,  the 
head  forester,  has  been  in  Arran  with  the  late  Duke 
for  over  thirty  years,  and  he  relates  that  prior  to 
1879  there  had  not  been  an  eagle's  nest  in  the 
island  for  many  a  day,  when  in  that  year  a  pair 
returned  to  nest  on  Goatfell,  and  since  that 
date     there     has    always    been    one    or    two     pair, 


BUTESHIRE.  6i 


which  shows  how  quiet  and  preservation  will  tell 
eventually,  for  needless  to  say  these  birds  are  strictly 
preserved.  While  speaking  of  the  preservation  of 
these  splendid  birds,  and  indeed  of  all  rare  birds, 
I  cannot  refrain  from  expressing  my  detestation 
at  the  ways  of  some  of  our  bird  stuffers  and  o.^^ 
dealers,  who  send  circulars  to  foresters,  keepers,  gillies, 
and  shepherds,  containing  a  printed  list  of  the  birds 
and  eggs  they  require,  with  the  price  they  will  pay 
for  the  same  marked  against  each  variety.  Many  of 
these  circulars  must  fall  into  the  hands  of  poor  men,  to 
whom  the  offer  of  a  pound  or  more  is  of  considerable 
import ;  many,  however,  must  fall  into  the  hands 
of  men  above  want  and  holding  responsible  positions, 
and  I  would  advise  the  employers  of  such  to  ask  them 
to  forward  all  circulars  to  them,  and  then  I  think 
if  the  senders  were  "gibbeted"  in  The  Field, 
that  it  might  perhaps  make  some  of  their  customers 
fight  shy  of  dealing  with  them,  and  thus  the  fear 
of  loss  of  trade  might  force  an  abandonment  of  this 
odious  plan  of  tempting  servants  and  others  to  supply 


63  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

them  with  specimens  of  birds  that  without  preservation 
will  eventually  become  extinct.  In  December,  1894, 
the  late  Duke  turned  down  a  wapiti  hind,  and 
though  at  first  the  ladies  of  the  red  deer  family  were 
mortally  afraid  of  her,  they  became  good  friends  by 
degrees,  and  it  only  remains  to  be  seen  if  she  will 
breed. 

A  remarkable  feature  of  the  island  is  the  absence 
of  foxes,  stoats  or  weasels,  neither  ever  having 
been  known  to  exist  there,  but  badgers  are  in 
plenty,  all  having  sprung  from  a  single  pair  turned 
down  by  the  late  Duke. 

The  grand  hall  at  Brodick  contains  a  splendid 
show  of  horns,  while  the  lodge  of  Dubhgharadh 
on  the  west  side  of  the  island  presents  a  most 
unique  and  remarkable  appearance,  as  it  is  covered 
outside  with  over  two  hundred  pairs  of  horns.  It  is 
on  this  side  of  the  isle  that  stalking  is  commenced,  and 
continued  later  at  Brodick  as  the  season  advances, 
where  many  wild  stags  come  into  the  park  and 
appear   quite   tame,  but   well   they  know  that  there 


BUTESHIRE.  63 


they  are  never  interfered  with,  and  that  they  can 
come  and  go  as  they  please  ;  the  moment,  however, 
they  regain  the  hill  they  resume  all  their  cunning 
and  wildness. 


64  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 


Chapter   V. 
CAITHNESS. 

FORESTS   OF    BRAEMORE   AND   LANGWELL    BY    BERRIED  ALE. 

This  fine  ground,  the  only  afforested  part  of  the 
county,  belongs  to  the  Duke  of  Portland,  and  the 
two  estates  together  contain  some  40,000  acres, 
covering  about  63  square  miles.  Up  till  1880  Brae- 
more  was  a  separate  estate,  when  it  was  purchased 
and  cleared  by  the  present  Duke,  and  added  to 
Langwell  proper,  on  which  last-named  ground  afforest- 
ing had  been  commenced  in  1857,  and  ultimately 
completed  in  1864,  and  on  both  properties  very  large 
sums  have  been  expended.  The  interior  of  this 
forest  presents  a  continuous  succession  of  hills  and 
valleys,  following  the  course  of  the  Braemore  and 
Langwell  streams,  and  though  the  valleys  are  narrow, 


CAITHNESS.  65 

Steep  and  rugged,  they  are  yet  clad  with  fine  pasture, 
while  many  of  their  bases  are  well  wooded  with  natural 
birch  and  hazel,  affording  good  winter  shelter  for  the 
deer.  Although  the  hills  do  not  display  peaked  and 
jagged  outlines,  they  are  yet  steep  and  sterile,  rising 
to  their  highest  altitude  of  2,313  feet  on  the  summit 
of  Morven,  or  the  Big  Hill.  The  lowest  forest  ground 
is  chiefly  peat,  moss  and  heather,  well  cut  up  with 
water-courses,  which  are  frequently  the  only  friendly 
cover  the  stalker  finds,  and  along  which,  clad  in 
the  yellow  and  white  mixture  found  best  suited  to 
the  ground,  on  hands  and  knees  the  stalking  party 
must  make  their  way  to  the  quarry.  On  the  north 
the  forest  is  bounded  as  well  as  sheltered  by  an 
almost  unbroken  range  of  high  hills,  comprising  the 
Skerabins,  or  Hill  of  Scars,  1,500  feet.  The  Maiden 
Pap,  Morven,  and  Cnoc-nearnach,  or  Hill  of  the 
Irishman,  so  named  "from  a  tradition  that  a  native 
of  the  Emerald  Isle  once  perished  on  it.  Between 
Morven  and  Torbreach,  and  near  the  top  of  the 
forest,    there   is   a   sanctuary   of    some    2,000    acres. 

K 


66  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

Donald  Ross,  the  genial  and  veteran  stalker,  who 
first  went  to  Langwell  in  1848,  is  now  pensioned 
off,  and  Archibald  McEwan  reigns  as  head  forester 
in  his  stead.  The  ground  will  carry  four  rifles  every 
day,  who  make  up  the  bag  by  fair  stalking  only,  and 
depending  on  the  fineness  of  the  season,  the  total 
kill  varies  from  eighty  to  one  hundred  stags,  scaling 
on  an  average  16  stone  each,  with  heart  and  liver 
included,  and  in  this  number  there  are  always  some 
royal  heads.  In  1888  a  melancholy  event  occurred 
here,  for  on  the  26th  of  August  of  that  year  Sir 
John  Rose,  while  out  after  deer,  died  on  the  hill. 
Up  to  the  moment  of  his  sudden  death  he  had 
been  in  his  usual  good  health,  but  on  that  day, 
after  firing  at  a  stag,  he  dropped  down  and  expired 
from  apoplexy. 

The  following  further  particulars  of  Langwell  will 
be  of  interest  to  sportsmen,  as  they  show  the  length  of 
time  required  to  make  a  forest  under  favourable  cir- 
cumstances, and  how  speedily  efficient  and  persevering 
preservation  of  grouse  produces  the  desired  result. 


CAITHNESS.  67 


These  notes  are  collected  from  a  statement  made 
by  Donald  Ross  for  the  present  Duke  of  Portland, 
to  whose  kind  courtesy  I  am  indebted  for  them 
and  all  else  I  have  to  say  about  this  forest. 

Donald  Ross  came  to  Langwell  as  gamekeeper 
in  1848,  the  estate  then  belonging  to  Mr.  Donald 
Home.  As  Ross  naively  observes,  gamekeepers  in 
the  north  at  that  period  were  not  so  numerous  as 
at  present,  and  one  man  would  often  be  expected 
to  look  after  40,000  acres  of  ground,  and  Donald 
himself  well  exemplifies  how  that  one  man  with 
his  heart  in  his  work  can  accomplish  wonders. 

In  1848  pole-cats,  now  quite  extinct,  were  plentiful 
in  Langwell ;  wild  cats  abounded,  and  these,  if  not 
quite  done  away  with,  are  so  nearly  gone  that  the 
capture  of  one  is  quite  a  remarkable  event.  At 
these  vermin  Donald  went  with  a  will,  for  during  the 
first  year  of  his  service  he  destroyed  fifty  pole-cats, 
twenty-eight  wild  cats,  five  foxes,  two  otters,  one  mar- 
ten cat,  and  over  two  hundred  weasels,  together  with 
a  number  of  ravens,  "  hoodies,"  harriers,  falcons,  and 


68  THE   DEER    FORESTS   OF    SCOTLAND. 

various  other  hawks  :  a  wonderful  total !  The  grouse 
bags  in  Langwell  at  that  time  ranged  from  nine  to 
eighteen  brace  a  day  to  two  guns.  The  whole  estate 
was  under  sheep,  while  few  deer  frequented  it,  and 
but  some  half-dozen,  hinds  included,  were  got  each 
season.  In  1857  the  late  Duke  of  Portland  bought 
the  property  and  at  once  began  to  afforest  it.  In 
1859  the  game  bag  for  the  season  was  four  red  deer, 
two  roe,  sixty-nine  hares,  one  hundred  and  eighty- 
eight  rabbits,  seventy  grouse,  and  seventeen  part- 
ridges, while  in  the  two  following  years  it  was  much 
about  the  same.  From  1868  to  1875  Viscount 
Galway  and  the  Hon.  G.  Monckton  shot  Langwell. 
In  1868,  nine  years  after  being  cleared.  Lord  Galway 
had  twenty-four  stags  and  Mr.  Monckton  twenty-six, 
or,  fifty  between  them  ;  but  as  in  those  days  Langwell 
did  not  possess  a  weighing  machine,  no  mention 
can  be  made  of  weights.  In  187 1  Lord  Galway 
got  forty-two  stags  and  Mr.  Monckton  fifty-one ; 
the  ninety-three  averaged  14  stone  5  lbs.,  with  heart 
and  liver  included,  and  the  best  twenty  beasts  gave  a 


CAITHNESS.  69 


mean  weight  of  18  stone  5  lbs.  In  addition  to  the 
stags,  1,115  brace  of  grouse  were  shot,  which  speaks 
volumes  in  favour  of  preservation  as  compared 
with  the  eighteen  brace  a  day  only  sometimes 
got  in  i860.  In  1877  the  forest  was  not  shot, 
and  but  twenty  stags  were  killed  by  Donald  by 
the  Duke's  orders,  and  distributed  amongst  the 
tenantry   and    others.       In    1878    the    Earl    of    Cork 

and  his  party  got  45  stags  and  1,600  brace  of  grouse, 
and  again  in  1879  49  stags  with  2,000  brace  of 
grouse.  From  this  it  will  be  seen  that  Langwell 
Forest  developed  itself  well  and  speedily. 

From  1858  to  1868  but  43  stags  were  killed  in 
the  nine  seasons,  and  then  the  fun  began,  as  already 
related,  with  a  score  of  50  for  the  tenth  season.  In 
1868  there  were  between  900  and  1,000  deer  of  all 
sorts  on  the  ground,  as  compared  with  about  120  in 
1859.  In  this  rapid  increase  it  must  not  be  over- 
looked that  in  those  days  there  was  no  railway  in 
Kildonan  Strath,  and  thus  Langwell  profited  to  some 
extent  by  the  Sutherland  deer  coming  into  the  freshly 


70  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

cleared  ground.  As  showing  how  far  deer  will  travel 
when  there  is  no  barrier  against  them,  such  as 
is  made  by  a  railway,  Donald  mentions  that  in 
1873  a  three-horned  stag  was  shot  in  Langwell  by 
Mr.  Monckton  which  had  been  shot  at  in  Inchbae 
forest  by  Garve,  in  Ross-shire,  in  1868;  there  is  no 
chance  of  any  mistake,  for  Donald  Ross  knew  the 
stag  well,  and  so  it  turned  out  did  his  brother,  John 
Ross,  who  was  at  that  time  stalker  in  Inchbae  to 
my  old  friend.  Major  Vaughan  Lee.  The  railway 
having  cut  off  the  interchange  of  blood  with  other 
forests,  park  deer  from  Welbeck  were  introduced  to 
Langwell  in  1877,  and  right  well  they  have  answered 
their  purpose. 


71 


Chapter  VI. 
FORFARSHIRE. 

FOREST  OF  CAENLOCHAN  BY  ALYTH. 

This  forest,  formerly  the  property  of  "  the  gracious 
gude  Lord  Ogilvie,"  so  styled  in  the  ballad  of  the 
battle  of  Harlow,  fought  in  141 1,  now  belongs  to 
his  descendant,  the  present  Earl  of  Airlie,  and  is 
now  let  to  Mr.  G,  W.  Henderson.  It  extends  to 
a  little  over  9,000  acres,  and  was  first  cleared  of 
sheep  about  sixty  years  ago,  while  as  it  marches 
with  the  forests  of  (Irlencally,  Glendoll,  and  Inver- 
cauld,  the  deer  can  wander  from  one  to  the  other 
as  they  choose,  and  thus  the  interchange  of  blood 
is  continuous.  A  striking  feature  of  the  ground  is 
the  large  glen  running  north,  through  the  centre, 
which,    on   nearing   the   head   of  the   forest,    divides 


72  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

into  Glencannes  on  the  east  and  Caenlochan  on 
the  west.  This  forest  contains  the  highest  hills  in 
the  county,  of  which  Glass  Maol,  3,502  feet,  is  the  most 
lofty.  There  are  400  acres  of  well-grown  plantations 
for  winter  shelter,  and  the  ground,  in  favourable 
winds,  will  carry  two  rifles  each  day,  who  should 
get,  by  fair  stalking,  50  to  60  stags  each  season, 
averaging  j  3  stone  1 2  lbs.,  weighed  with  heart 
and  liver  included.  This  property  has  been  owned 
by  the  Ogilvies  from  almost  time  immemorial,  and 
at  one  period  the  tenants  of  the  Earl  were  bound, 
by  a  clause  in  their  agreement,  to  bring  in  to 
Cortachy  Castle  all  deer  killed  in  Caenlochan  from 
the  spot  where  they  fell,  but  as  there  is  an  ancient 
foot  and  bridle-path  belonging  to  the  ground,  and 
passing  right  through  it,  this  was  not  probably  such 
an  onerous  condition  as  may  at  first  sight  appear. 
In  days  gone  by  this  path  was  much  used  by  cattle 
lifters,  and  it  was  on  this  track  that  one  Mudie  of 
Crandart  and  his  five  stepsons,  Grewar  by  name, 
once    surprised  and   slew   with   their  broadswords  a 


FORFARSHIRE,  73 


much  larger  force  of  raiders.  All  the  caterans  but 
one  fell  before  the  sword  of  Mudie,  and  the  solitary 
rascal  that  escaped  fled,  vowing  vengeance  ;  he  was 
as  good  as  his  word,  for  a  short  time  afterwards 
three  of  the  Grewar  brothers  were  surprised  by  the 
relations  of  the  vanquished  men  ;  they  immediately 
fled,  and  separated  for  greater  security ;  one  fleet- 
footed  brother  saved  his  life  by  hiding  in  the  rocks 
of  the  Dhu  Loch,  near  Loch-na-gar ;  a  second, 
equally  active,  secured  his  retreat  by  leaping  the 
Altoetch  Burn,  swollen  on  that  day  by  heavy  rain 
to  an  impossible  size,  and  the  spot  still  goes  by  the 
name  of  "  Grewar's  Leap  "  ;  the  third  brother  had 
nearly  made  good  his  escape  when  he  trod  on  a 
patch  of  frozen  snow,  near  the  top  of  Monega,  and 
slipping,  he  fell  right  down  to  the  very  feet  of  his 
pursuers,  who  quickly  killed  him,  and  that  spot  in 
the  forest  is  yet  called  "  Grewar's  Gutter."  At  one 
period  there  was  a  good  deal  of  poaching  in  this 
forest,  carried  on  by  otherwise  quite  respectable 
people,  and  when  any  of  them   were  caught  in  the 

L 


74      THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

act  a  fine  was  usually  imposed  by  the  forester's 
employer,  which  was  paid  without  a  murmur,  and 
there  all  proceedings  ended. 

Whatever  may  be  the  origin  of  the  Airlie  drummer- 
boy,  he  is  at  times  reputed  to  quit  Cortachy  Castle 
and  play  his  tattoo  round  Tulchan  Lodge  in  Caen- 
lochan  Forest.  One  tradition  is  to  the  effect  that 
a  drummer-lad  having  in  some  way  angered  an 
ancient  Earl  of  Airlie,  he  was  ordered  to  be  shut 
up  in  his  drum  and  thrown  from  the  walls  of 
Cortachy,  and  ever  since  that  deed  the  drummer-boy 
never  fails  to  beat  his  tattoo  at  Cortachy  or  Tulchan 
Lodge  whenever  disaster  or  death  is  coming  to  the 
"  bonnie  house  of  Airlie." 

There  is  also  a  legend,  in  Caenlochan,  that  one 
McCombie  once  surprised,  caught,  and  carried 
off  a  mermaid  to  his  house  at  Crandart,  where 
his  captive  began  to  negotiate  for  her  freedom,  and 
McCombie  demanded,  as  his  price,  some  fore  know- 
ledge of  the  time,  place  or  manner  of  his  death  ; 
whereupon  his  prisoner,  pointing  out  a  large  stone  on 


FORFARSHIRE.  75 


the  hill,  told  him  he  would  surely  die  with  his 
head  immediately  above  it.  To  make  certain  of 
defeating  this  prophecy,  which  McCombie  regarded 
as  indicating  a  violent  death,  he  took  up  the  stone 
and  built  it  into  his  cottage  wall.  Some  years  later 
McCombie  fell  ill,  and  his  couch  being  moved  from 
one  room  to  another,  he  died  in  his  bed,  with  his 
head  over  the  very  stone,  as  predicted  by  the  captured 
mermaid ! 

FOREST  OF  GLENCALLEY  BY  GLENISLA. 

This  small  but  good  little  forest  of  3,000  acres, 
formed  in  1872,  belongs  to  Sir  John  Kinloch  of  Kin- 
loch,  and  at  present  is  rented  by  Mr.  C.  B.  Lambert. 
It  marches  with  Caenlochan  and  Glendoll,  and  on 
it  are  the  high  hills  of  Final ty  (3,000  ft),  and  Bywalps 
(2,900  ft.).  It  carries  one  rifle  nicely,  whose  average 
kill  should  be  27  stags  of  15  stone  each,  without  heart 
or  liver.  A  royal  head  or  two  is  usually  got  each 
season,  and,  in  addition  to  the  cleared  ground,  there 
is  5,000  acres  of  good  grouse  shooting. 


76  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

FOREST    OF    GLEN    DOLL    BY    KERRIEMUIR. 

This  forest  is  owned  by  the  heirs  of  Mr.  Duncan 
Macpherson,  and  is  usually  let.  It  extends  to  a  little 
over  10,000  acres,  and  marches  with  Bachnagairn, 
Glencally  and  Caenlochan.  There  is  a  small  sanc- 
tuary, and  later  on  there  will  be  good  wood  for 
wintering,  but  it  is  too  recently  planted  to  be  of  any 
immediate  use.  The  highest  hills  are  Tombuie,  the 
yellow  hill,  and  Tolmont,  the  peat  hole,  both  about 
3,000  ft.  high.  It  will  carry  two  rifles,  and  40  stags 
is  the  annual  kill,  all  got  by  fair  stalking,  with  an 
average  weight  of  14  stone,  heart  and  liver  included. 
The  late  General  Craelock,  whose  drawings  of  the 
deer  forest  are  so  well  known,  rented  this  forest  in 
1890,  and  it  is  very  fully  described  in  his  deer 
stalking  book. 

FOREST   OF    INVERMARK    BY    BRECHIN. 

This  forest,  the  property  of  the  Earl  of  Dalhousie, 
is  at  present  jointly  rented  by  Lord  Hindlip  and 
Lord  Dudley  and  spreads  over  some   20,000  acres 


FORFARSHIRE.  77 


of  forested  land,  in  addition  to  which  there  is  about 
10,000  acres  of  extra  good  grouse  ground.  On 
the  west  and  south-west  these  lands  march  with 
Glenmuick,  Glendoll,  and  the  Hunthill  sheep  walks  ; 
on  the  south-east  they  spread  away  up  to  the  summit 
of  Mount  Keen,  3,000  feet,  on  the  watershed  of  which 
hill  the  boundaries  run  with  the  forest  of  Glen  Tana. 
There  is  a  good  road  from  Brechin  to  Invermark 
Lodge,  a  distance  of  twenty-two  miles,  over  which  I 
made  several  pleasant  journeys  in  the  autumns  of 
1884  and  1885,  when  the  late  Sir  Robert  B.  Harvey 
leased  this  forest  and  I  had  the  good  fortune  to  be 
one  of  his  guests.  About  a  mile  before  reaching 
the  present  house  of  Invermark  the  road  passes 
the  ruins  of  the  old  castle,  formerly  a  stronghold 
of  the  Lindsays  and  most  picturesquely  placed  on 
the  banks  of  the  North  Esk. 

The  forest  is  divided  into  three  beats ;  over  the 
southern  one  John  Mitchell,  the  head  forester,  used 
to  preside  when  I  was  at  Invermark ;  John  Mac- 
gregor  ruled  over  the  north  beat,   and  a  third  man 


78  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

had  charge  of  the  middle  one.  It  is  a  fine  open 
"rolling"  country  and  without  any  very  rocky  hills; 
some  of  them  are  yet  thought  by  many  to  be 
quite  high  enough  before  the  top  is  reached.  They 
range  from  1,500  feet  up  to  3,000  feet,  but  they 
are  big  "lumps"  of  hills  and  do  not  rise  to  jagged 
peaks  ;  for  this  reason  they  are  in  places  somewhat 
bare  of  stalking  cover,  and  more  often  than  not 
long  shots  have  to  be  taken — that  is,  at  distances 
ranging  from  1 20  to  200  yards. 

There  is  no  sanctuary  and  no  wood  for  wintering, 
and  many  of  the  Invermark  deer  seek  shelter  in 
the  dense  woods  of  Glen  Tana  and  Glenmuick, 
while  a  few  come  down  to  the  grouse  ground  at 
Invermark,  and  the  banks  of  the  North  Esk,  on 
which  there  is  a  certain  amount  of  natural  wood. 
The  forest  will  carry  three  rifles  daily.  The  south 
beat  is  the  best,  and  between  the  other  two  there 
is  nothing  to  choose.  There  are  good  pony  paths 
in  the  forest,  and  the  one  that  winds  up  "The 
Drum"  is   of  a   nearly  sensational   character.     This 


FORFARSHIRE.  79 


hill  being  of  the  shape  of  half  a  sugar  loaf  cut 
through  lengthways,  the  path  zig-zags  along  the  face, 
and  each  time  a  turn  is  taken  the  pony  track  comes 
very  close  to  the  edge  of  a  precipitous  descent,  down 
which  if  the  pony  slipped  it  would  be  good-bye  to 
all  things. 

Many  royalties  and  celebrated  men  have  stalked 
in  this  forest,  and  Her  Majesty  has  passed  through 
it  and  over  the  summit  of  Mount  Keen  on  her 
way  to  Balmoral,  and  at  the  foot  of  the  ascent 
"  Her  Majesty's  Well "  still  remains  as  a  memento 
of  her  visit.  On  the  occasion  of  royal  visits  it  has 
sometimes  been  the  custom  to  have  just  one  deer 
drive,  but  as  a  rule  all  the  stags  are  killed  by 
stalking ;  they  do  not  run  very  large  either  in  body 
or  horn,  and  the  average  kill  is  about  fifty,  weighing 
just  under  14  stone  clean.  To  judge  the  Inver- 
mark  stags  of  the  present  by  the  horns  of  their 
ancestors  which  decorate  the  various  rooms  of  the 
Lodge,  the  deer  of  to-day  must  have  deteriorated 
very   much   during   the   last   twenty  or  thirty  years, 


8o  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

for  the  old  heads  are  far  finer  in  all  respects  than 
any  that  can  now  be  seen  in  this  forest.  In  the 
early  part  of  the  season  large  bags  of  grouse  are 
made  in  the  deer  ground  round  the  heather-clad 
bases  of  the  high  hills,  and  the  deer  do  not  seem 
to  mind  the  noise  of  the  shooting,  &c.,  in  the  least, 
for  when  first  disturbed  they  merely  trot  off  to 
some  high  grassy  top,  and  there  they  will  stand 
watching  the  proceedings  of  the  shooters  in  the 
valley. 


8t 


Chapter   VII. 
INVERNESS-SHIRE. 

FOREST    OF    ABERNETHV,    BY    NETHY    BRIDGE. 

The  Dowager  Countess  of  Seafield  is  the  owner  of 
these  lands,  which  were  first  cleared  in  1869,  and 
spread  over  26,000  acres,  about  one-third  being 
wood,  affording  a  vast  tract  of  fine  winter  shelter  for 
the  deer.  The  forest  marches  with  that  of  Glenmore, 
and  contains  many  high  hills,  chief  amongst  these 
being  Cairn-gorm  (4,084  ft.).  The  yearly  total  is 
60  stags  a  season,  showing  an  average  of  14  stone 
each,  weighed  with  heart  and  liver  included,  and 
here  one  of  the  best  beasts  of  recent  years  was  shot 
in  1892,  by  Mr.  Payne — a  fine  fourteen-pointer  of 
18  stone. 

In   or   about   the   year    1630   this  forest   was   the 

M 


82  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

scene  of  bloodshed,  as  one  James  Grant,  of  the 
Carron  family,  having  in  some  feud  made  matters 
unpleasantly  uncomfortable  for  himself,  escaped  to 
these  regions,  and,  collecting  a  party  of  fellow 
desperadoes,  he  proceeded  to  harry  all  the  district 
round  about,  and  especially  the  lands  of  his  chief 
enemy  and  relation.  Grant  of  Balllndalloch.  As  a 
nephew  of  his,  John  Grant,  of  Carron,  was  one  day 
cutting  timber  with  seven  or  eight  others  in  Aber- 
nethy  forest,  Balllndalloch  suddenly  pounced  on  him 
with  a  force  double  in  numbers  and  thoroughly  armed, 
and,  under  pretence  of  seeking  James  Grant,  John 
Grant's  party  was  attacked  and  John  himself 
was  killed  after  a  desperate  resistance,  for  he  and 
his  companions  sold  their  lives  very  dearly.  Sir  R. 
Gordon,  the  historian  of  those  days,  in  his  remarks 
on  this  encounter,  quaintly  says :  "  Give  me  leave 
heir  to  remark  the  providence  and  secrait  judgement 
of  the  Almightie  God,  who  now  hath  mett  Carron 
with  the  same  measure  that  his  forefather,  John 
Roy   Grant   of    Carron,    did    serve    the    ancestor    of 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  83 


Ballendallogh  (being  the  eleventh  day  of  September) 
the  verie  same  day  of  this  month  was  Carron  slain 
by  John  Grant  of  Ballendallogh,  many  yeirs  there- 
after. And,  besides,  as  that  John  Roy  Grant  of 
Carron  was  left-handed,  so  is  this  John  Grant  of 
Ballendallogh  left-handed  also ;  and  moreover  it  is  to 
be  observed  that  Ballendallogh,  at  the  killing  of  this 
Carron,  had  upon  him  the  same  coat  of  armour  or 
maillie-coat  which  John  Roy  Grant  had  upon  him 
at  the  slaughter  of  the  great-grandfather  of  this 
Ballendallogh,  which  maillie-coat  Ballendallogh  had, 
a  little  before  this  tyme,  taken  from  James  Grant  in 
a  skirmish  that  passed  between  them.  Thus  wee  doe 
sie  that  the  judgements  of  God  are  inscrutable,  and 
that  in  His  own  tyme  He  punisheth  blood  by  blood." 

FOREST    OF    ACHNACARRY    BY    FORT   WILLIAM. 

This  fine  and  historical  property,  belonging  to 
Cameron  of  Lochiel,  is  at  times  let  for  the  season, 
but  is  also  often  kept  by  the  proprietor  for  his  own 
sport.     Those  parts  of  the  lands  of  Gulvain  which 


82  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

scene  of  bloodshed,  as  one  James  Grant,  of  the 
Carron  family,  having  in  some  feud  made  matters 
unpleasantly  uncomfortable  for  himself,  escaped  to 
these  regions,  and,  collecting  a  party  of  fellow 
desperadoes,  he  proceeded  to  harry  all  the  district 
round  about,  and  especially  the  lands  of  his  chief 
enemy  and  relation.  Grant  of  Ballindalloch.  As  a 
nephew  of  his,  John  Grant,  of  Carron,  was  one  day 
cutting  timber  with  seven  or  eight  others  in  Aber- 
nethy  forest,  Ballindalloch  suddenly  pounced  on  him 
with  a  force  double  in  numbers  and  thoroughly  armed, 
and,  under  pretence  of  seeking  James  Grant,  John 
Grant's  party  was  attacked  and  John  himself 
was  killed  after  a  desperate  resistance,  for  he  and 
his  companions  sold  their  lives  very  dearly.  Sir  R. 
Gordon,  the  historian  of  those  days,  in  his  remarks 
on  this  encounter,  quaintly  says :  "  Give  me  leave 
heir  to  remark  the  providence  and  secrait  judgement 
of  the  Almightie  God,  who  now  hath  mett  Carron 
with  the  same  measure  that  his  forefather,  John 
Ruy   Grant   of   Carron,    did    serve    the    ancestor   of 


INVERNESS-SHTRE.  83 


Ballendallogh  (being  the  eleventh  day  of  September) 
the  verie  same  day  of  this  month  was  Carron  slain 
by  John  Grant  of  Ballendallogh,  many  yeirs  there- 
after. And,  besides,  as  that  John  Roy  Grant  of 
Carron  was  left-handed,  so  is  this  John  Grant  of 
Ballendallogh  left-handed  also ;  and  moreover  it  is  to 
be  observed  that  Ballendallogh,  at  the  killing  of  this 
Carron,  had  upon  him  the  same  coat  of  armour  or 
maillie-coat  which  John  Roy  Grant  had  upon  him 
at  the  slaughter  of  the  great-grandfather  of  this 
Ballendallogh,  which  maillie-coat  Ballendallogh  had, 
a  little  before  this  tyme,  taken  from  James  Grant  in 
a  skirmish  that  passed  between  them.  Thus  wee  doe 
sie  that  the  judgements  of  God  are  inscrutable,  and 
that  in  His  own  tyme  He  punisheth  blood  by  blood." 

FOREST    OF    ACHNACARRY    BY    FORT   WILLIAM. 

Tins  fine  and  historical  property,  belonging  to 
Cameron  of  Lochiel,  is  at  times  let  for  the  season, 
but  is  also  often  kept  by  the  proprietor  for  his  own 
sport.     Those  parts  of  the  lands  of  Gulvain  which 


86  THE   DEER    FORESTS   OF  SCOTLAND. 

subsequent  replacement  of  the  sheep ;  this  somewhat 
remarkable  fact,  which  certainly  is  not  the  case 
with  other  sheep  grounds,  is  accounted  for  by  the 
protection  afforded  to  the  deer  by  the  thickness 
of  the  old  wood  and  old  heather,  and  the  further 
guard  against  all  disturbance  provided  by  the 
water  boundary  of  Loch  Arkaig  side.  This  method 
of  working  answers  well  when  Achnacarry  is 
let  for  the  season,  as  thereby  is  afforded  a  very 
large  extent  of  what  is  practically,  though  not  strictly 
speaking,  forested  ground,  while  even  if  anything 
should  go  wrong  the  tenant  has  to  deal  with  the 
landlord  only,  and  not  with  third  parties.  Loch 
Arkaig,  which  is  some  fourteen  miles  long,  bisects 
this  ground,  and  by  the  aid  of  a  steam  launch  it 
forms  an  exceptionally  useful  and  pleasant  way  of 
sending  sportsmen  to  and  from  their  beats  on  either 
side  or  at  the  far  end  of  the  loch.  Achnacarry  and 
that  part  of  Gulvain  going  with  it  yield  an  average 
of  about  sixty  stags  each  season ;  a  greater  number 
could    doubtlessly    be    killed,   but    it    is    rarely   that 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  87 

more  than  two  rifles  go  out  except  quite  at  the 
end  of  the  season,  and  then  perhaps,  if  the  wind 
is  in  the  right  airt  and  the  house  full  of  guests,  a 
third  is  sometimes  given  a  chance.  Also  with  regard 
to  the  number  of  stags  killed,  it  must  be  borne  in  mind 
that  the  number  of  stalks  to  be  got  each  day  is  some- 
what curtailed  by  the  fact  that  at  Achnacarry  there 
are  no  paths  up  the  hills  so  as  to  shorten  the  time 
taken  by  each  party  to  reach  the  scene  of  actual  opera- 
tions. Neither  does  the  owner  of  Achnacarry  pick 
his  guests  on  account  of  their  being  good  shots  ;  a 
bad  one  is  as  welcome  as  a  good  if  he  be  but  a 
keen  sportsman. 

The  stags  weigh  exceptionally  well,  and  the 
average,  after  casting  one  or  perhaps  two  small 
beasts  killed  by  accident,  has  for  some  years  past 
been  over  16  stone,  including  heart  and  liver,  which 
are  always  weighed  here  on  the  ground  that  they 
are  edible,  and  brought  home  for  the  express  purpose 
of  being  eaten. 

In  the  season  of  1894  the  seven  best  deer  made 


88  THE   DEER   FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

19  Stone,  and  twenty-one  of  them  were  just  over 
1 7  stone.  These  good  weights  the  owner  of  Ach- 
nacarry  attributes  in  a  great  measure  to  the  fact 
that  most  of  his  neighbours  have  joined  him  in  a 
compact  not  to  shoot  stags  out  of  season  or  "  far 
run"  or  even  "run"  at  all,  and  on  the  loth  of 
October  stalking  is  ended. 

With  regard  to  Lochiel's  method  of  weighing, 
viz.,  with  heart  and  liver  left  in  the  carcase,  there 
are  also  many  gentlemen  who  follow  this  system  ; 
at  the  same  time  it  should  not  be  overlooked  that 
part  of  the  poch-a-buie — the  tripe — is  also  brought 
home  for  eating,  and  yet  that  is  never  by  any  chance 
included  in  the  stag's  weight.  I  am  sure  all  stalkers 
will  agree  with  the  idea  that  there  should  be  but 
one  recognized  method  of  weighing  deer,  and  if 
such  a  plan  were  adopted,  then  in  future  there 
never  could  arise  any  misapprehension  as  to  a  deer's 
real  weight.  It  will  be  seen  from  a  perusal  of 
these  pages  that  there  are  more  people  who  weigh 
their    stags    "quite    clean" — that    is   without    heart. 


INVERNESS.SHIRE.  89 

liver  or  lungs — than  there  are  of  those  who  include 
these  in  the  weight ;  this  then  being  the  case,  may 
not  the  question  be  put  as  to  whether  the  minority- 
should  not  yield  gracefully  to  the  majority  in  a 
matter  of  no  real  importance  ?  Certainly,  as  regards 
the  forest  with  which  I  am  now  dealing,  it  could 
not  possibly  make  any  difference,  for  sixty  stags  of 
over  16  stone  with  heart  .and  liver,  or  sixty  stags 
of  over  15  stone  without  heart  or  liver,  is  distinctly 
a  very  fine  average  which  is  not  often  surpassed. 
Of  course  in  a  forest  where  beasts  average  a  little 
over  13  stone,  with  heart  and  liver,  it  will  sound 
perhaps  better  to  speak  of  them  in  this  way  instead 
of  alluding  to  them  as  a  little  over  12  stone  v/ithout 
these  appendages ! 

By  ceasing  to  stalk  strictly  on  the  loth  of  October, 
and  in  early  seasons  even  a  few  days  sooner,  the 
calves  become  the  offspring  of  the  best  sires  of  the 
forest  and  not  of  some  chance  and  perhaps  small  stag, 
who  steps  into  the  shoes  of  the  big  one  that  has 
been  killed.     Some  time  ago  a  very  curiously  marked 

N 


90  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF   SCOTLAND. 

Stag  suddenly  appeared  in  Achnacarry ;  he  had  a 
perfectly  white  face,  and  after  every  enquiry  had 
been  made  from  the  neighbours,  it  could  not  be 
discovered  that  he  had  ever  been  seen  before, 
although  he  was  a  full-grown  beast  with  six  points — 
not  a  very  big  stag,  but  yet  not  a  very  small 
one.  For  ten  years  he  remained  in  Achnacarry, 
with  the  exception  of  one  season,  the  eighth,  when 
he  was  not  seen ;  at  the  end  of  the  ten  years  he  dis- 
appeared as  suddenly  and  as  mysteriously  as  he  had 
come,  and  has  never  been  seen  or  heard  of  since.  If 
killed,  it  must  have  been  poachers'  work,  for  all  the 
neighbours  knew  of  him,  so  that  no  rifle  was  ever 
pointed  at  him,  and  although  the  deer-stealer  may 
perhaps  have  accounted  for  his  vanishing,  it  is  after  all 
not  so  remarkable  as  his  first  sudden  appearance,  and 
where  he  came  from  must  ever  remain  a  puzzle,  for 
no  one  could  have  failed  to  notice  a  beast  so  strange, 
as  the  whole  front  of  his  face  from  forehead  to  tip 
of  nose  was  so  purely  white  and  so  conspicuous 
that   even   at    a    good    distance    he   could   be   seen 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  91 


without  a  glass  when  it  was  necessary  to  use  one  to 
find  his  companions. 

It  is  not  possible  to  write  of  Achnacarry  without 
recalling  to  mind  scenes  of  strife  and  warfare,  both 
historic   and    clanish.     For   nearly  two  centuries   the 
Camerons    and     the    Mackintoshes    were    at    bitter 
enmity,   and  countless  were  the  combats,  large  and 
small,    that   took   place    between    these    rival    clans. 
The  renowned  Sir  Ewan  Cameron  had  a  great  deal 
to    do   with    gaining   the    battle  of   Killiecrankie,    as 
before  the  fight   commenced  he  went   round   to   his 
men   individually,   exacting   a  promise  from  each   to 
conquer  or  die,  and  the  rush  of  the  Lochaber  men 
was  the  decisive  moment  of  the  day.     The  hero  of 
so  many  fights  died  in  his  bed  at  the  age  of  ninety. 
Of  this  chieftain  tradition  relates  that,  being  over- 
taken by  darkness  on   a  winter's  day  while  crossing 
some    hills    when    on    a    warlike    expedition,    as    he 
and  his  followers  laid  themselves  down  in  the  snow- 
covered    heather,  he   detected   one  of  them   making 
a  large  snowball  to  serve  him  as  a  pillow,  whereupon 


92  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

Sir  Ewan  upbraided  him  bitterly  with  his  effeminate 
desire  to  make  himself  comfortable !  This  gallant 
gentleman  also,  when  out  on  a  skirmish  with  the 
Fort  William  garrison,  becoming  detached  from 
his  men,  was  surprised  by  an  English  officer  of  much 
greater  size  and  strength,  who  called  on  Sir  Ewan 
to  surrender.  That,  however,  was  the  last  thing  to 
be  thought  of,  and  the  two  closed  with  equal  fury ; 
at  length  Lochiel  struck  his  adversary's  sword  from 
his  hand,  when  both  closed  and  fell  to  the  ground, 
where  for  long  they  wrestled  in  deadly  grip.  Bit  by 
bit  the  weight  and  strength  of  the  Englishman  began 
to  tell,  until  at  last,  being  fairly  above  Lochiel,  he 
stretched  out  his  neck  to  make  himself  free  to  draw 
and  use  his  dirk,  when  the  chieftain,  seizing  the 
opportunity,  sprang  at  the  throat  of  his  foe  like  a 
dog,  and  biting  it  right  through,  he  held  on  so  tightly 
that  he  brought  away  his  mouthful  and  killed  his  man. 
Sir  Ewan  was  worthily  succeeded  by  his  grandson, 
though  his  father  was  still  living,  and  only  died  one 
year  before  him — "the  gentle  Lochiel,"  who  suffered 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  93 

SO  severely  in  that  ill-fated  attempt  of  1 745  to  restore 
Prince  Charlie  to  the  throne  of  his  ancestors.  In 
that  year  Achnacarry  was  plundered  and  burnt  by 
the  Duke  of  Cumberland's  soldiers,  and,  like  his 
prince,  the  gentle  Lochiel  had  to  hide  in  the  hills. 
For  eight  days  Prince  Charles  Edward  lay  hidden 
in  the  wood  of  Torvuilt,  opposite  the  ruins  of 
Achnacarry  House ;  while  later,  on  August  26th, 
1746,  Captain  George  Munro,  of  Culcairn,  a  brother 
of  Sir  Robert  Munro,  met  his  death  on  the  banks 
of  Loch  Arkaig  by  a  bullet  from  the  musket  of 
Dugald  Roy  Cameron,  a  devoted  adherent  to  the 
Pretender. 

FOREST   OF   AFFARIC   BY    BEAULY. 

This  is  one  of  the  most  western  of  the  six  Chisholm 
forests,  as  it  reaches  nearly  to  the  sea  at  Loch  Duich, 
on  the  west  coast.  It  covers  some  30,000  acres,  and 
marches  on  the  south  with  sheep  ground  ;  on  the  west 
with  Kintail  ;  on  the  east  with  Guisachan  ;  and  on 
the  north  with  Braulen.     In  season  1895  it  was  rented 


94  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

by  Mr.  Arnold  Morley,  but  I  have  not  been  able  to 
collect  any  reliable  details  of  what  sport  he  or  any 
previous  tenants  have  had,  although  I  have  heard 
that  in  1894  well  over  one  hundred  heavy  stags 
were  got,  a  large  number,  taking  into  consideration 
the  extent  of  the  forest.  When,  in  1893-4,  Mrs. 
Chisholm's  factor  gave  his  evidence  before  the 
Highland  and  Island  Commission,  he  stated  the 
three  forests  of  Affaric,  Glen-Cannich,  and  Erchless 
held  nineteen  peaks,  all  reaching  an  altitude  of  over 
3,000  feet,  while  the  combined  acreage  of  these  three 
properties  was  stated  to  be  80,000  acres,  let  to  three 
tenants  at  \s.  6d.  an  acre,  or  ^6,000  a  year,  but 
I  doubt  if  this  rental  has  been  maintained. 

FOREST     OF     AMHUINSUIDH    AND     ARDVOURLIE     BY 
STORNOWAY. 

These  two  grounds,  for  Ardvourlie  has  been 
joined  to  Amhuinsuidh  for  over  twenty-two  years, 
extend  to  some  55,000  acres,  and  are  the  property 
of    Lady     Farquhar.      Cleisham,    the    highest     hill, 


JNVERNESS-SHIRE.  95 

rises  to  3,200  feet,  but  the  whole  ground  is  hilly, 
rocky,  entirely  devoid  of  all  timber,  and  of  a 
peculiarly  barren,  sterile  appearance.  Owing  to  the 
amount  of  rocky  ground,  the  stalker  here  will  do 
best  to  clothe  himself  in  mixtures  of  light  blue  and 
grey.  Deer  drives  are  never  resorted  to,  as  four 
rifles  can  go  out  daily  ;  the  stags  are  weighed  with 
heart  and  liver,  and  scale  about  12  stone  4  lbs.  ; 
seventy  five  is  the  usual  total  kill,  and  although  it 
will  be  noticed  that  the  weights  are  very  small,  as 
compared  with  those  of  the  mainland,  the  venison 
is  excellent ;  indeed  the  Harris  stags  appear  to  be 
of  an  altogether  smaller  breed  than  the  Ross-shire 
deer,  and  even  if  some  of  them  were  transplanted 
to  English  parks,  and  given  the  full  benefit  of  fine 
pasture  and  good  climate,  it  is  very  doubtful  if 
they  would  increase  to  the  size  of  the  stags  of  the 
mainland.  They  are  very  thickly  coated  with  hair, 
and  often  are  lightish  in  colour,  while  naturally  their 
horns  are  in  proportion  to  their  bodies  ;  but  a  Harris 
royal   is   usually  as  pretty   a  small  but  strong  wild 


96  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

head  as  one  could  wish  to  see.  Eagles  nest  each 
season  in  this  forest,  and  under  the  watchful  eye 
of  Frederick  McAulay,  the  head  forester,  they  are 
never  molested.  Although  Stornoway  is  the  post 
town  of  Amhuinsuidh  House,  so  beautifully  placed 
on  the  sea-shore,  it  is  more  easily  reached  by  those 
coming  from  the  south  by  steamer  from  Oban  to 
East  Loch  Tarbert. 

FOREST    OF    ARDVERIKIE    BV    KINGUSSIE. 

Of  this  place  I  have  not  been  able  to  collect  any 
authentic  details.  In  my  map  of  the  deer  forests  it 
is  put  down  as  containing  26,990  acres,  with  the 
greatest  altitude  3,569  feet.  On  the  south-west  it 
marches  with  the  forest  of  Ben  Alder — the  only  forest 
which  it  joins — so  that  probably  the  deer  of  Ard- 
verikie  and  those  of  Ben  Alder  are  one  and  the  same 
animal,  and  the  stags  of  this  latter  place  are  famed 
for  their  bodies  and  heads.  Ardverikie  is  always  let 
each  season,  and  has  had  a  good  many  tenants  during 
the   last    twenty    years.     It    belongs    to    Sir   James 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  97 

W.  Ramsden,  by  whom  it  was  purchased  some  twenty 
years  ago,  together  with  Ben  Alder,  from  Cluny 
Macpherson. 

It  was  in  this  forest  that  Landseer  painted  a  series 
of  frescoes  on  the  walls  of  the  old  Ardverikie  House, 
comprising  studies  of  his  celebrated  pictures,  "  The 
Challenge,"  "The  Stag  at  Bay,"  "Children  of  the 
Mist,"  "The  Dead  Stag,"  and  "The  Forester's 
Daughter."  When  the  old  house  was  burnt  down, 
the  whole  of  these  perished,  but  photographs  of  the 
originals  still  remain  in  the  possession  of  Sir  George 
Macpherson  Grant,  of  Ballindalloch.  In  connection 
with  the  destruction  of  old  Ardverikie  House  may  be 
mentioned  the  curious  coincidence  that  it  should  have 
been  burnt  down  on  the  very  day  that  Landseer  was 
buried. 

FOREST    OF   ARISAIG    BY    FORT    WILLIAM. 

Tins  is  a  small  forest  owned  by  Mrs.  Nicholson, 
and  at  present  let  to  Mr.  R.  G.  Dunville.  It  is 
situated   on   a   peninsula,  and  covers  between  three 

o 


98  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

and  four  thousand  acres,  but  I  have  not  been  able  to 
collect  any  reliable  details. 

It  was  in  this  forest  that  Prince  Charles  Edward 
found  himself  on  July  i8th,  1746.  On  that  day  he 
arrived  at  the  summit  of  a  hill  at  the  eastern  ex- 
tremity of  Arisaig,  called  Scoorvuy,  and,  having  rested 
there,  he  started  afresh  on  that  wonderful  series  of  hair- 
breadth escapes  and  wanderings  which  only  terminated 
when  he  was  safely  at  sea,  on  his  way  to  France. 

FORESTS    OF    ARNISDALE    AND    LOCH   HOURN    BY   GLENELG. 

These  two  properties,  owned  since  1890  by  Mr. 
Robert  Birkbeck,  and  purchased  in  that  year  from 
Mr.  Baillie  of  Dochfour,  march  with  the  forest  of 
Glenquoich  and  the  Glenelg  and  Ratagan  estates  of 
Mr.  Baillie.  The  Loch  Hourn  ground  covers  some 
14,000  acres  of  very  steep,  broken,  high,  rocky,  sterile 
country.  The  grazing  is  excellent,  while  the  natural 
woods  offer  perfect  wintering  for  deer.  These 
grounds  were  cleared  of  sheep  in  1890,  and  being 
a  new  forest,   at  present  only  thirty  stags  are  killed 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  99 

on  Loch  Hourn  during  the  season ;  they  are,  how- 
ever, exceptionally  heavy  ones,  the  top-weight  of  the 
lot  scaling  20  stone  7  lbs.,  clean.  The  Loch  Hourn 
division  is  kept  by  the  proprietor  for  his  own  sport, 
while  Arnisdale  is  let  each  season,  the  present  tenant 
being  Mr.  Sellar,  and  it  yields,  off  much  the  same 
extent  and  nature  of  ground,  a  nearly  similar  kill 
as  Loch  Hourn. 

Both  these  forests  are  subject  to  the  very  heavy 
rainfall  of  over  one  hundred  inches  a  year,  deep  lies 
the  snow  in  winter,  while  the  cold  is  often  so  intense 
as  to  freeze  the  salt  water  of  Loch  Hourn.  The  hills 
rise  so  abruptly  from  the  sea  that  within  half  a  mile 
of  the  shore  they  reach  2,000  ft.  in  height,  and  there 
are  several  peaks  that  exceed  3,000  ft.  In  some  of 
the  valleys  the  sun  only  shines  during  the  longest 
days  of  summer,  while  at  Loch  Hourn  head,  as  early 
as  November,  the  sun  sets  at  one  o'clock,  and  in 
winter  this  is,  indeed,  a  country  in  which  the  would-be 
weather-wise  "might  easily  perish  by  conceit  of  their 
own   fancied   knowledge."     Often   also  hay   may  be 


loo  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

seen  rotting  in  the  fields  in  November,  and  before  the 
place  was  cleared  of  sheep,  many  hundreds  perished 
annually  during  the  winter  months.  Like  all  other 
gentlemen  who  purchase  new  property,  Mr.  Birkbeck 
has  spent  considerable  sums  in  improvements,  the 
crofters  especially  benefiting  at  his  hands,  for 
he  has  greatly  bettered  their  houses,  which  were 
in  a  dreadful  plight  when  he  took  possession  ;  none 
of  their  dwellings  were  water-tight,  chimneys  and 
windows  were  rare,  roofs  and  walls  were  rotten,  and 
in  wet  weather  the  floors  were  deep  in  mud.  Now, 
however,  water-tight  houses  with  slate  roofs  are  every- 
where, and  Mr.  Birkbeck's  crofters  are  fully  alive  to 
all  the  kind  works  that  have  been  done  for  them, 
while  many  of  them  are  employed  at  good  wages 
by  the  generous-hearted  proprietor  of  these  two 
estates. 

fOREST    OF    BALMACAAN    BY    INVERNESS. 

This  fine  forest,  on  the  banks  of  Loch   Ness  in 
Glenurquhart,  is  owned  by   the   Countess    Dowager 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  lor 


of    Seafield,    and    leased    to    Mr.    Bradley    Martin. 

It  spreads  over  some  28,000  acres  of  grassy  corries 

and  fairly  high  hills,  of  which  the  highest  is   Meal- 

fourvie,    2,284   feet.      In   addition   to    the    excellent 

pasturage,  there  are  some  2,000  acres  of  wood,  with 

good  grazing  in   them.      It    is  bounded  on    the  east 

by  Loch  Ness  ;    on  the  west  by  the  forest  of  Inver- 

moriston ;   while  the  other  marches  are  sheep  walks. 

It  was  first  afforested  in  1857,  and  was  cleared  solely 

because  it  was  found  impossible  to  let  the  grounds  to 

any    sheep-farming  tenant.     Three  rifles  can  go  out 

daily,  and  it  now  yields  an  average  kill  of  sixty-twQ  W'.},'',';;' 

stags  of  14  stone,   heart  and  liver  included.  ^,  ,  .\:  ']    ;,'."{' 

The  late  Earl  of  Seafield  killed  many  heavy  stags 
of  upwards  of  20  stone,  the  fine  heads  of  which 
now  hang  on  the  walls  of  Balmacaan  House ;  and 
here,  too,  General  Hope  Craelock  often  stalked, 
and  on  this  ground  took  place  many  of  the  scenes 
and  adventures  so  vividly  illustrated  in  his  "  Book 
of  the  Deer  Forests,"  The  present  tenant  has 
spent    considerable   sums   of    money   on    the    place, 


I02  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

and  by  his  banker's  book  it  was  proved  before  the 
last  Deer  Forest  Commission  that  his  expenditure 
had  averaged  over  ^10,000  a  year  during  the 
whole   period    of  his    tenancy. 

In  Balmacaan,  which  is  Gaelic  for  "  The  town  of  the 
son  of  Hector,"  also  occurred  one  of  those  deplorable 
tragedies  of  conqueror's  cruelty,  common  to  the  history 
of  all  nations,  as  after  the  battle  of  Culloden  a  party 
of  fugitives,  having  taken  refuge  in  a  barn,  were 
surprised  by  some  of  the  Duke  of  Cumberland's 
soldiers,  who  surrounded  their  refuge,  set  fire  to  it, 
;  ind  either  burned  or  killed  the  whole  party,  with  the 
.'•exception  of  one  MacLean,  who  made  good  his  escape 
and  alone  lived  to  tell  the  tale. 

On  the  confines  of  this  forest,  on  the  shore  of 
Loch  Ness,  are  the  ruins  of  the  celebrated  Castle 
Urquhart  or  Urchard,  and  the  loch  itself,  according 
to  traditionary  legend,  was  formed  in  the  following 
manner :  At  one  period  the  great  glen,  which  now 
lies  under  the  waters  of  Loch  Ness,  was  a  beautiful 
and    fertile    valley,    containing   a  wonderful    spring, 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  103 


which  having  been  blessed  by  one  Daly  the  Druid, 
its  waters  became  for  ever  after  an  unfailing  remedy 
against  all  disease.  The  Druid,  when  bestowing  this 
healing  power  on  the  waters  of  the  spring,  placed  a 
stone  over  it,  strictly  enjoining  that  whenever  it  was 
removed  for  reaching  the  water  it  should  immediately 
be  replaced,  or  desolation  would  overtake  the  valley 
the  day  his  commands  were  disobeyed ;  thus  his 
words  became  law  with  the  people  of  the  vale,  and 
year  by  year  passed  away  in  peace  and  plenty. 
One  fatal  day,  however,  a  woman  went  to  draw 
water,  when  just  as  she  had  removed  the  sacred  stone, 
a  cry  came  from  her  cottage  close  by  that  her  child 
had  set  his  clothes  on  fire,  and  back  she  flew  to 
save  her  infant,  but  forgetting  to  replace  the  stone. 
On  this  the  waters  of  the  spring  rose  rapidly  in  such 
a  great  volume  as  to  overflow  the  valley,  driving 
the  dwellers  therein  to  take  refuge  on  the  hills, 
until  from  all  sides  arose  their  cry  of  lamentation. 
"  Tha  loch  nis  ann  !  "  "  Tha  loch  nis  ann  !  "  "  There 
is   a   lake   now ! "   which   has    remained    ever   since. 


I04  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

while    to    this    day    the    splendid    sheet    of  water    is 
called  Loch  Nis  or  Loch  Ness. 

Incredible  as  this  story  of  course  must  be,  it  may 
yet  however  be  true  that  at  one  time  Loch  Ness  did 
not  exist,  for  beneath  the  waters  of  Lochnell  near 
Oban,  some  thirty  years  ago,  there  could  be  seen 
on  still  bright  days  the  remains  of  a  sunken  village 
some  fifteen  feet  below  the  surface.  Nothing  is 
known  in  the  neighbourhood  as  to  how  this  village 
became  submerged,  but  there  is  the  fact  for  certain, 
and  that  which  has  occurred  on  Lochnell  may  also 
have  happened  on  a  large  scale  to  Loch  Ness. 

Early  in  the  13th  century  Castle  Urquhart  was 
captured  by  King  Edward  and  the  English  after  a 
protracted  siege  ;  later  on  it  became  the  chief  strong- 
hold of  the  Lords  of  the  Isles,  while  after  their 
defeat  at  Harlaw  to  Sir  Duncan  Grant  was  entrusted 
the  command  of  the  castle  and  the  restoration  of 
order  in  those  disturbed  and  out-of-the-way  districts. 
The  Grants  of  Strathspey  were  originally  a  Strath 
Enrick  family,  of  whom  tradition  says  tha.t  they  lost 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  105 


their  last  possessions  at  Foyers  on  Loch  Ness  in 
the  following  manner  :  the  bride  of  Gruer  Mor  of 
Portclair  went  forth,  as  was  then  the  custom  of 
newly  married  women,  to  receive  the  presents  of 
her  friends.  At  Foyers  she  was  grossly  insulted 
by  Laurance  Grant,  and  the  matter  being  reported 
to  her  husband,  he  at  once  started  to  punish 
the  offender,  sailing  from  Portclair  with  several 
galleys  full  of  fighting  men.  Grant  and  his  clan 
rowed  out  to  meet  them,  when  a  desperate  fight 
took  place  in  the  bay  to  the  west  of  Foyers,  to 
this  day  known  as  "  Camus  Mhorbh  Dhaoine," 
"  The  Bay  of  the  Dead  Men." 

Grant  was  eventually  defeated,  pursued,  overtaken 
and  slain,  at  Ruidh  Laurais,  "  Laurence's  Slope," 
above  Ruiskich,  and  Gruer  seized  and  retained 
Foyers.  The  clan  Ic  Nian  at  that  time  held  castle 
Urquhart,  and  long  and  stoutly  they  and  the  Mac- 
donalds  of  Glenmoriston  fought  against  the  Grants 
and  the  men  of  Strathspey,  whom  they  roused  to 
fury    by    surprising    and    slaying    a    small    party   of 


ic6  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

their  men,  whose  heads  they  cut  off  and  sent  to 
John  Grant,  the  chief  of  the  clan,  better  known  by 
the  name  of  the  "  Red  Bard."  Slowly  but  surely 
the  power  of  the  Grants  won  the  day,  and  The 
Bard  taking  possession  of  Urquhart  Castle  ruled  the 
whole  district  with  a  strong  hand,  and  history  states 
that  in  1502  he  sold  the  king  "sixty-nine  marts  with 
skins  for  £^1  2s.  od."  Later  on  in  1509  the  properties 
of  Urquhart  and  Glenmoriston  were  bestowed  on  The 
Bard  in  recognition  of  his  services  by  a  grateful 
monarch,  and  all  went  pretty  well  until  15 13,  when 
one  Sir  Donald  Macdonald  of  Lochalsh,  who  revived 
and  claimed  the  title  of  the  Lord  of  the  Isles,  being 
at  enmity  with  the  Grants,  collected  his  forces  and 
seized  Castle  Urquhart,  together  with  a  great  booty, 
while  for  the  following  three  years  he  forcibly  held 
the  lands.  At  the  end  of  this  period  the  Grants 
once  more  prevailed  and  returned  to  Castle  Urquhart, 
but  in  1545  their  possessions  were  again  seized  by 
John  of  Moidart  and  his  friends,  who  committed 
depredations  so  serious  that  it  took  the  glen  several 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  107 


years  to  recover  therefrom,  and  to  this  day  the 
natives  speak  of  the  incursion  as  "  The  Great 
Raid."  In  1581  there  appeared  in  the  person  of 
the  reigning  John  Grant,  known  as  "  Big  John 
of  the  Castle,"  a  chieftain  remarkable  alike  for  his 
personal  strength  and  his  influence  with  his  neigh- 
bours. Many  are  the  tales  still  extant  of  his 
extraordinary  strength,  one  being  to  the  effect  that 
when  challenged  to  combat  in  Edinburgh  by  a 
very  strong  Englishman,  he  shook  hands  with  him, 
as  was  customary  at  the  outset  of  combats,  and  then 
and  there  by  pure  force  he  squeezed  the  hand  of  the 
Englishman  into  such  a  jelly  that  it  ended  the  fight, 
a  feat,  however,  which  within  the  last  sixty  years 
has  been  imitated  by  a  noted  Cornish  wrestler.  On 
another  occasion  when  Big  John  of  the  Castle  was 
in  London,  he  proved  himself  a  man  of  resource  as 
well  as  of  sinew,  for  on  some  gentleman  referring 
with  a  sneer  to  "the  fir  candles"  still  in  use  in 
Glen  Urquhart,  Big  John  at  once  made  a  wager  with 
the  scoffer  that  he  would  produce  from  his  Highland 


io8  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

property  a  finer  candlestick  and  more  brilliant  light 
than  could  be  found  in  London ;  the  wager  was 
duly  made,  and  Iain  MacEobhain  Bhain  was  sent 
for  from  the  wilds  of  Glen  Urquhart,  a  man  distin- 
guished alike  for  his  wit,  grace  and  fine  figure. 
At  the  appointed  time  Big  John's  opponent  appeared 
with  a  splendid  silver  candelabrum  holding  a  great 
quantity  of  the  best  wax  candles,  when  in  reply 
to  a  signal  from  Grant,  MacEobhain  stepped  forth 
from  behind  a  screen,  arrayed  in  full  Highland 
costume,  holding  a  blazing  torch  of  pine  in  each 
hand,  while  the  delighted  and  astonished  spectators 
with  one  accord  proclaimed  "  Big  John "  the  winner 
of  the  wager.  Sad  to  relate,  the  name  of  this  great 
man  is  associated  with  the  contemptible  plunder  and 
murder  of  a  pedlar  in  Glenmoriston. 

FOREST    OF    BEN   ALDER    BY    KINGUSSIE. 

This  is  another  of  Sir  James  Ramsden's  forests  of 
which  I  have  not  been  able  to  gather  any  information 
as  to  very  recent  doings.     It  contains  28,880  acres, 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  109 


and  marches  with  the  forests  of  Rannoch  and  Corrour 
on  the  south  and  west,  Loch  Erricht  bounds  it  on 
the  east,  and  Ardverikie  on  the  north.  It  is  very 
rugged,  sterile-looking  ground,  and  Ben  Alder  rises 
to  3.757  ft-,  while  at  about  2,500  ft.  above  sea 
level  there  is  a  loch  called  Beallach-a-bhea  of  some 
two  miles  in  circumference,  full  of  good  trout. 

In  the  days  when  I  used  to  stalk  at  Corrour  many 
and  long  were  the  spies  I  had  into  this  ground,  and 
at  that  time  (1880)  plentiful  were  the  stags  to  be 
seen  on  it.  Well,  also,  do  I  remember  meeting  the 
late  Mr.  Gretton  in  the  train  going  north  from 
Perth  in  the  days  when  he  paid  a  big  rent  for 
Ben  Alder,  and  how  greatly  I  was  amused  by  his 
naive  admission,  "  that  when  he  took  to  stalking  he 
had  no  idea  it  would  interfere  so  much  with  racing." 
The  Leger  week  had  just  ended,  and  Mr.  Gretton 
was  going  up  to  the  forest  for  a  few  days,  only  to 
hasten  back  to  the  south  to  his  more  favourite  pastime, 
and  after  telling  me  this,  he  finished  up  by  saying,  "  I 
mean  to  have  a  deer  drive  one  day  whatever  way  the 


iio  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

wind  may  blow  or  Clarke  may  say."  Three  days  later 
Mr.  Gretton  did  have  his  drive,  for  on  that  same 
day  I  was  shooting  grouse  at  Corrour,  on  the  sheep 
ground  of  Ben  Alder  glen,  when  suddenly  in  many 
places  in  the  sky-line  there  appeared  large  herds  of 
trotting,  frightened,  galloping  deer;  I  think  from  five 
to  seven  hundred  beasts  of  all  sorts  must  have  been 
put  on  to  our  ground,  while  later  I  heard  Mr.  Gretton 
had  insisted  on  his  drive  in  spite  of  a  bad  wind  and 
all  the  entreaties  of  Edward  Clarke,  the  then  head 
forester.  Poor  Clarke !  for  nearly  forty  years  he 
had  been  in  Ben  Alder,  till  in  the  winter  of  1888  he 
met  with  his  death  from  an  accident  in  the  forest  he 
was  so  devoted  to  ;  for  when  out  after  hinds  with  his 
son  in  the  winter  snows  on  the  neaily  precipitous 
sides  of  Ben  Alder,  as  bad  fate  would  have  it,  they 
sat  down  side  by  side  on  some  snow-covered  heather, 
and  the  next  second  they  were  both  rolling  headlong 
down  the  hill  in  the  midst  of  a  small  avalanche.  The 
son  escaped  with  a  severe  bruising  and  a  broken 
leg,    which   caused    his   progress   in   search   of   help 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  1 1 1 

to  be  very  slow,  for  in  order  to  reach  assistance,  he 
was  compelled  most  reluctantly  to  leave  his  father, 
who  was  still  breathing  ;  a  terrible  snow-storm  then 
came  on,  and  when  at  length  the  search  party 
arrived  near  the  scene  of  the  disaster,  much  precious 
time  was  wasted  in  seeking  out  the  exact  spot 
where  poor  Clarke  had  been  left ;  which,  when  it  was 
at  length  found,  only  disclosed,  on  the  removal  of  the 
snow,  the  forester's  body  frozen  stiff  beneath  its 
white  shroud. 

Ben  Alder,  afforested  in  1838,  had  the  Marquis 
of  Abercorn  for  its  first  tenant,  and  since  then, 
in  addition  to  others.  Lord  Henry  Bentinck,  the 
Earl  of  Zetland,  Mr.  Gretton  and  Baron  J.  W.  H. 
Schroder  have  each  been  tenants  of  this  forest. 
For  many  years  it  yielded  from  ninety  to  one 
hundred  stags  each  season,  a  total  which  has  not 
of  late  years  been  maintained.  In  1886,  when 
Baron  Schroder  had  it,  he  killed,  with  a  view  to 
nursing,  but  thirty-one  stags,  which  made  the  fine 
average   of   16  stone   clean,   and   by  degrees,   under 


112  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

his  good  management,  the  number  of  the  slain  was 
worked  up  to  fifty  or  fifty-five  stags  of  the  same 
very  heavy  weight. 

It  was  in  this  forest  that  Cluny  Macpherson  hid 
for  so  long  in  the  time  of  the  Pretender,  as  for  nine 
years  after  Culloden  he  laid  low  in  huts,  caves  and 
vaults  in  this  district,  while  during  all  that  time  a 
heavy  price  was  placed  upon  his  head.  A  good  part 
of  these  years  of  concealment  he  passed  on  Ben  Alder 
in  a  singular  natural  retreat  known  as  "  The  Cage," 
and  here,  when  Prince  Charles  Edward  escaped  from 
the  Western  Isles,  he  was  entertained  by  Cluny  for 
some  three  months  as  well  as  circumstances  would 
permit. 

When  the  Prince  arrived  in  Ben  Alder  he  was 
actually  in  rags,  but  his  devoted  host  soon  put  matters 
right  for  him,  Charles  Edward  then  passing  his  spare 
time  in  the  study  of  Gaelic  ;  while,  as  he  had  for  com- 
panions both  Cluny  and  Cameron  of  Lochiel,  whose 
trusty  Highlanders  kept  them  well  supplied  with  the 
necessaries  and  even  some  of  the  luxuries  of  life,  it  is 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  113 


probable  these  three  months  passed  in  "  The  Cage  " 
must  have  been  the  pleasantest  and  most  cheerful 
time  the  Pretender  had  experienced  since  the  fatal 
day  of  Culloden. 

When  at  last  Cluny  made  up  his  mind  to  follow 
the  example  of  so  many  of  his  other  brother  chieftains 
by  seeking  safety  in  France,  he  went  to  take  leave 
of  Mr.  Macdonald  of  Tulloch,  an  old  deerstalking 
friend,  and  on  Cluny  saying  how  much  he  wished 
to  kill  one  more  deer  in  Ben  Alder  ere  he  quitted 
his  beloved  country  for  ever,  Macdonald  and  he  at 
once  proceeded  to  put  the  plan  into  execution ; 
arriving  in  the  forest,  they  soon  discovered  a  solitary 
stag,  but,  on  getting  nearly  within  shot,  something 
alarmed  him,  and  he  bolted  off  full-tilt  for  about 
two  miles  ;  then  suddenly  stopping,  he  seemed  to  be 
considering  whether  there  was  any  real  cause  for 
alarm  ;  at  the  end  of  the  pause  he  abruptly  wheeled 
about  and  most  deliberately  cantered  back  to  the 
very  spot  he  started  from,  where  he  was  shot  dead 
by  Cluny,  who  looked  upon  the  manner  of  his  last 

Q 


114  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

Stalk  as  being  a  very  good  omen  for  the  time  to 
come,  in  which  he  was  not  wrong,  as  proved  by 
future  events. 

It  is  impossible  to  read  the  accounts  of  Clunie's 
adventures,  during  the  nine  years  of  his  wanderings, 
without  being  impressed  with  the  chivalrous  daring 
of  his  character.  Clearly  he  was  a  firm  believer  in 
the  old  Highland  saying  of:  "Better  trust  to  a 
bulwark  of  bones  than  a  castle  of  stones,"  and  if 
ever  there  was  a  chieftain  who  was  both  "  steel  lord 
and  skin  lord,"  Cluny  Macpherson  was  he.  The  old 
Highlanders  used  to  call  those  chieftains  "  steel " 
lords  who  kept  and  held  their  lands  by  the  sword  ; 
the  "  skin  "  lords  were  those  who  relied  on  their  title- 
deeds  engrossed  on  parchment  to  prove  their  rights. 

One  of  the  most  ancient  stories  in  connection 
with  Ben  Alder  relates  to  the  days  when  wolves 
were  common  in  the  mountain  fastnesses.  At  that 
period  a  Mr.  Macpherson  of  Breakachy  having 
charge  of  this  forest,  was  one  day  in  quest  of 
venison  accompanied  by  a  servant  when  they  came 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  iij 

on  a  wolfs  den,  the  master  promptly  asking  his  man 
whether  he  would  choose  to  enter  and  destroy  the  cubs 
or  remain  outside  to  keep  guard  against  an  attack 
from  the  old  ones,  should  they  return ;  the  man 
electing  to  stay  without,  his  master  forthwith  crept 
into  the  lair,  and  had  no  sooner  disappeared  from 
view  than  the  old  wolves  were  seen  approaching, 
whereupon  the  man  at  once  took  to  his  heels  without 
even  warning  his  laird  of  the  danger.  Macpherson, 
however,  being  a  strong,  active  man  and  well-armed, 
killed  the  old  wolves  one  after  the  other,  and  then 
coming  out  of  the  cave,  he  saw  his  servant  a  long 
way  oif,  and  dissembling  the  contemptuous  anger  he 
felt  at  his  servitor's  cowardice,  he  recalled  him  and 
continued  his  way,  merely  saying  that  as  it  was  now 
late  he  intended  to  remain  for  the  night  in  a  forest 
bothy  near  by.  It  was  quite  dark  by  the  time  this 
was  reached,  and  Macpherson,  who  entered  first, 
stretched  out  his  hand  to  gather  some  dry  heather 
from  the  bothy  bed  in  order  to  get  material  for  a 
fire,  when  to  his  surprise  he  found  his  fingers  resting 


ii6  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

on   the  face  of  a  dead  man.     Hiding  all  feelings  of 
astonishment,   he    turned   to  his  servant,    saying,   "  I 
don't   like   the  comforts  of  this  bothy  ;   we  shall  get 
better   in   the   other   one  a  short   distance   off,"  and 
accordingly  they  sallied  forth  in  search  of  this  fresh 
shelter,    which    being   duly   reached    and    a   fire   lit, 
Macpherson,  pretending  he  had  left  his  powder-horn 
on   the  bed  of  the  first   bothy,   sent   his   man   back 
for  it,  and  it  may  be  readily  guessed  what  a  terrible 
shock    the   dead   body   gave    to    the    nerves    of   this 
faint-hearted  retainer,  who  fled  back  at  top  speed  to 
where   he  had  left  his  master,  but  on  regaining  the 
hut    he    found    to    his    great    dismay    all    was    dark 
and   empty,    for   Macpherson   had    set   off   home   as 
soon    as    he    saw    his   valiant    man    depart   for   the 
powder  flask.     Tradition  says  the  fright  nearly  cost 
the   man   his   life,    "for   he   fevered   and   was   many 
weeks  before  he  recovered." 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.-  ny 


FOREST    OF    BOBLAINE, 

This  is  a  small  forest  of  Lord  Lovat's,  let  with 
Beaufort  Castle  to  Mr.  Lucas  Tooth.  It  is  similar 
ground  to  Farley,  but  has  a  larger  area,  and  probably 
contains  the  biggest  wood  in  Scotland,  of  2,500  acres 
in  extent.  It  marches  with  Lord  Seafield's  and 
the  Eskadaile  shootings,  but  I  have  no  particulars 
of  the  number  of  stasfs  killed. 

FOREST  OF  BRAULEN  BY  BEAULV. 

This  is  one  of  the  seven  deer  forests  owned  by 
Lord  Lovat,  and  was  afforested  in  1835  by  the 
grandfather  of  the  present  Lord.  The  late  Lord 
Lovat  was  in  the  habit  of  letting  Braulen  and  Struy 
as  a  whole,  and  in  those  days  the  two  combined 
went  under  the  name  of  Forest  of  Glenstrathfarrar. 
Braulen,  rented  for  the  season  of  1895  by  Mr.  J.  W. 
Baxendale,  covers  about  30,000  acres,  in  which  are 
many  fine  bold  corries,  and  altogether  it  is  a  big- 
featured  ground  of  one  long  wide  glen,  with  the  sky- 


ii8  THE  DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

line  the  march  on  either  side.  Scour-na-lappich,  the 
Ridge  of  Mires,  and  Scour  na  Corrie  Glas  are  both 
well  over  3,500  feet,  and  there  are  many  other  high 
hills  in  the  forest.  It  marches  with  Struy  on  the 
north,  with  Glencannich  on  the  south,  and  Patt 
and  Monar  on  the  west.  On  the  south  side  of  the 
glen,  opposite  the  lodge,  there  is  a  large  sanctuary, 
while  the  slopes  of  some  of  the  hills  are  well  wooded 
for  wintering,  although  many  of  the  Braulen  deer 
descend  to  the  lower  ground  of  Struy  for  winter 
shelter.  The  kill  is  limited  to  ninety  stags,  which 
average  about  14  stone  10  lbs.,  clean.  Braulen  was 
at  one  time  one  of  Mr,  Winans'  chain  of  forests, 
which  reached  from  sea  to  sea  and  practically  made 
one  vast  sanctuary,  out  of  which  Mr.  Winans  had 
the  deer  driven  into  Braulen,  where  he  killed  them. 
When  the  late  Lord  Lovat  first  let  Glenstrathfarrar 
to  Mr.  Winans,  there  were  fully  1,200  stags  of  all 
sorts  in  the  sanctuary,  while  during  the  last  two 
years  of  his  tenancy  Mr.  Winans  killed,  by  driving, 
188  and  220  stags. 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  1 19 

FOREST     OF     CAENNOCROC    (nORTh)     BY     GLENMORISTON. 

This  is  a  good  forest,  belonging  to  Mr.  J.  M.  Grant 
of  Glenmoriston,  and  is  at  present  let  to  Lord  Tweed- 
mouth,  who  works  it  in  conjunction  with  his  own  forest 
of  Guisachan.  Cleared  early  in  the  century,  it  consists 
of  some  21,000  acres  of  fine  corries,  excellent  grazing 
and  good  stalking  ground,  the  highest  point  of  which 
is  Sgur-nan-Coubhairean,  3,682  feet.  There  is  a 
good-sized  sanctuary  and  a  small  amount  of  wood, 
which  is,  however,  not  much  used  by  the  deer  for 
winter  shelter,  as  the  lower  lying  woods  of  Glen- 
moriston offer  better  quarters,  to  which  most  of  the 
North  Caennocroc  deer  wend  their  way  in  hard 
weather.  This  forest  will  carry  three  rifles,  and, 
independently  of  Guisachan,  should  yield  upwards 
of  seventy-five  heavy  stags  each  season. 

A  rising  ground  near  Caennocroc  is  still  pointed 
out  as  the  scene  of  the  battle  in  1647  between  the 
Camerons  and  the  Gordons,  led  by  the  Marquis  of 
Huntly  ;  and  according  to  the  glen  tradition,  Huntly. 


I20  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

being  severely  wounded,  owed  his  life  to  the  kindness 
of  one  Macdonald,  of  the  Glenmoriston  race  of  Mac 
Iain  Chaoil,  who  carried  him  on  his  back  off  the 
battle-field.  For  this  service  the  Marquis  was  so 
grateful  that  he  inscribed  over  the  gate  of  his  castle 
the  words,  "  Cha  bhi  Mac  Iain  Chaoil  a  mach,  agus 
Gordonach  a  stigh,"  "  A  Mac  Iain  Chaoil  shall  not 
be  without  and  a  Gordon  within." 

Also  in  this  forest,  close  to  the  public  highway,  there 
is  still  to  be  seen  the  cairn  that  marks  the  spot  where 
the  gallant  young  Roderick  Mackenzie  fell.  The  son 
of  an  Edinburgh  jeweller,  he  took  up  the  cause  of 
the  Stuarts,  and,  after  Culloden,  was  hiding  on  the 
lands  of  Caennocroc,  when  he  was  surprised  by  a 
party  of  the  king's  soldiers,  and  bearing  some  personal 
resemblance  to  Prince  Charles,  he  was  at  once  shot 
down  in  order  that  they  might  gain  the  ;^30,ooo 
reward  that  was  placed  on  the  Prince's  head.  This 
devoted  adherent  made  no  attempt  to  deceive  the 
soldiers,  and  drawing  his  sword,  refused  to  surrender 
alive,  and  expired  exclaiming :  "  You  have  murdered 


INVERNESS-SHTRE.  121 

your  Prince  !  "  an  act  of  self-sacrifice  that  went  a  long 
way  to  ensure  the  Prince's  safety,  as  for  some 
time  it  was  believed  Mackenzie  was  really  the  true 
"adventurer  from  France";  and,  until  Government 
was  undeceived,  the  watchfulness  of  the  pursuers  was 
much  slackened. 

FOREST    OF    COIGNAFEARN    BY    INVERNESS. 

This  magnificent  sporting  property,  belonging  to 
the  Mackintosh  of  Mackintosh,  spreads  over  38,500 
acres,  of  which  nearly  30,000  acres  are  afforested,  the 
remaining  9,000  acres  being  good  grousing  ground, 
an  adjunct  which  it  is  certainly  most  desirable 
to  have  in  connection  with  a  forest,  for  even 
"  deer  always "  are  apt  to  become  monotonous, 
and  there  is  many  a  forest  I  know  of  from  which 
I  would  knock  off  three  or  four  thousand  acres 
of  low-lying  good  heather  ground  to  turn  them  into 
grouse  shooting.  Coignafearn  has  a  large  sanctuary 
of  some  five  miles  long  by  three  wide,  while  plenty 
of  birch  wood  with  juniper  offers  shelter   in   severe 

R 


122  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

weather.  This  fine  tract  of  country  quite  won  all 
the  sporting  instinct  and  nature  of  that  charming 
writer,  the  late  Mr.  St.  John,  who  in  his  beautiful 
book,  "The  Wild  Sports  of  the  Highlands,"  devotes 
a  whole  chapter — "  The  River  Findhorn  " — to  what  is 
now  Coignafearn  forest,  and  he  ends  it  by  saying :  "  I 
wonder  Mackintosh  does  not  turn  this  into  a  deer 
forest,  for  which  it  is  specially  adapted."  This  was 
written  about  the  year  1850,  but  it  was  not  until 
1883  that  Mr.  St.  John's  suggestion  was  carried  out. 
Situated  in  the  Monadhliah  mountains,  the  forest  is 
a  splendid  stretch  of  wild  ground  full  of  springs, 
burns,  tarns,  grassy  corries,  while  no  less  than  three 
good-sized  rivers  rise  in  and  flow  through  it,  viz.,  the 
Croclach,  the  Eskin  and  the  Dalveg,  the  three 
eventually  forming  the  Findhorn,  of  which  this  forest 
is  the  watershed.  Coignafearn  is  at  present  rented 
by  Mr.  J.  Bradly  Firth,  where  a  previous  tenant, 
Mr.  Holland  Corbett,  once  killed  three  thousand 
brace  of  grouse  entirely  over  dogs.  It  is  high  ground, 
the  house  itself  being  1,100  ft.  above  sea  level,  while 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  1J3 


many  of  the  hills  run  to  over  3,000  ft.  More  than 
two  rifles  seldom  go  to  the  hill,  and  the  usual  kill 
is  from  38  to  40  stags,  which  in  the  season  of  '93 
averaged  15  stone  2  lbs.  clean. 

Some  time  about  the  middle  of  the  sixteenth  century 
a  tragedy,  arising  out  of  the  following  circumstances, 
took  place  in  the  fastnesses  of  Monadhliah  mountains. 
Some    of    the    clan    MacNiven     having    insulted   a 
daughter  of  Cluny  Macpherson,  a  very  large  force  of 
that  powerful   sept  surprised  the   MacNivens,  and  in 
a  furious  battle  nearly  the  whole  of  this  latter  clan 
was  killed  ;  only  eighteen  men  survived,  who,  escap- 
ing  to   the   recesses  of   the   Monadhliah   mountains, 
built  themselves  a  strong  house,  to  which  as  a  further 
protection   they   added    a    secret   room   built  behind 
the   back   of    the   fire-place,   thus   gaining  additional 
safety  with  warmth  at   the  same   time,   and   in  this 
secret   den    these  eighteen    men    lived   undiscovered 
for     some      years,     getting      their     subsistence     by 
lifting    cattle    and    poaching    deer.      At    last    their 
house    was    found    out,    while    the    frequent    cattle 


Ii4  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

thefts  began  to  make  people  think  these  outrages 
might  in  some  way  be  connected  with  the  missing 
MacNivens.  Therefore  it  happened  that  one 
Alexander  Macpherson,  a  heavy  loser  by  these 
constant  depredations,  determined  to  try  to  find 
out  something  about  the  inhabitants  of  this  mysterious 
house  ;  accordingly  he  feigned  illness  until  his  beard 
had  grown,  and  then  disguising  himself  in  other  ways, 
he  arrived  at  the  suspected  house  late  in  the  evening, 
pretending  he  had  lost  his  way  and  was  starving. 
The  door  was  opened  by  an  old  woman,  who  freely 
offered  him  plenty  of  food,  while  sternly  refusing 
shelter.  But  Macpherson  proved  such  a  good  beggar, 
that  at  length  he  got  leave  to  lie  down  in  a  corner, 
where,  curling  himself  up,  he  feigned  sleep.  Towards 
midnight  the  eighteen  MacNivens  returned  from  a 
foraging  expedition,  and  not  noticing  Alexander, 
they  pulled  back  the  slab  by  which  they  gained 
the  secret  room.  Alexander  having  been  a  witness 
of  the  whole  thing,  then  slipped  off  and  returned 
to   his   home   with   all    speed,    and    summoning   the 


INVERNESS-SHIRE. 


125 


neighbours  far  and  near,  he  retraced  his  steps  next 
day,  when  the  whole  of  the  remaining  MacNivens 
were  killed  after  a  desperate  resistance. 

FOREST    OF    CORRIECIIOILLIE    BY    FORT    WILLIAM. 

This  forest  belongs  to  Lord  Abinger,  and  in 
compliance  with  his  wish  I  give  but  such  meagre 
details  of  it  as  are  published  for  the  benefit  of  the 
world  at  large  in  the  last  blue  book  of  "  The 
Highlands  and  Islands  Commission."  Before  that 
somewhat  prejudiced,  one-sided  tribunal  his  lordship's 
factor  stated  that  Corriechoillie  consisted  of  22,500 
acres  of  wild,  broken,  high  and  sterile  ground,  the 
highest  part  of  which  reached  an  altitude  of  3,990 
feet.  Afforesting  was  commenced  in  or  about  1870 
and  finished  in  1883,  the  ground  now  yielding  forty 
stags,  but  no  mention  was  made  of  weights.  The 
arable  lands  adjoining  this  forest  have  been  protected 
from  the  deer  by  some  nine  miles  of  wire  fencing. 
The  autumns  at  Fort  William  are  very  wet,  the 
average  rainfall  for  the  year  being  about  75  inches, 


126  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

April  being  the  driest  month,  while  the  bulk  of  the 
moisture  descends  from  September  to  February, 
which  must  interfere  somewhat  with  the  pleasures 
of  stalking  just  at  the  very  best  of  the  season. 
It  was  through  Corriechoillie  that  Montrose  marched 
into  Glen  Nevis  with  his  army  on  the  ist  of 
February,  1645,  to  fight  the  battle  of  Inverlochy 
with  the  Duke  of  Argyll,  whose  army,  panic-stricken 
by  the  first  onset,  fled  in  all  directions  and  were 
much  cut  up  by  the  victorious  Highlanders,  many 
of  the  fugitives  being  overtaken  and  killed  in 
Corriechoillie. 

CORROUR   WITH    BENEVRICH    BY    KINLOCH    RANNOCII. 

These  lands  were  purchased  not  very  long  ago 
by  Sir  John  Stirling  Maxwell  from  Colonel  Walker, 
and  extend  to  over  30,000  acres  of  every  description 
of  ground,  which,  until  the  recent  railway  to  Fort 
William  was  brought  through  the  moor  of  Rannoch, 
was  always  a  "remote  and  inaccessible"  part  of 
Scotland. 


INVERNESS -SHIRE.  127 


The  hill  of  Benevrich — Ben-y-vricht  or  Ben  Vreek 

— the    Corrie   of    Corriecraegacht   or   Corriecraegus, 

and  the  braes  of  Loch  Treig  have  ever  been  famed 

for    their    deer,    and    it    was    of    this    ground    the 

old    Scotch   hunter-bard   sang  when   so   pathetically 

bemoaning  in  Gaelic  his  old  age,  in  the  well  translated 

poem  commencing — 

"  Great  was  my  love  in  youth  and  strong  my  desire 
Towards  the  bounding  herds, 
But  now  broken  and  weak  and  helpless, 
Their  remembrance  wounds  my  heart." 

In  days  gone  by  when  I  stalked  at  Corrour  with  the 
late  Mr.  Henry  Spencer  Lucy,  the  whole  ground  was 
not  afforested.  Corrie  Craegus,  Corrie  Vallich,  Corrie- 
na-cloich,  with  the  Green  Face,  which  joined  Ben 
Alder  and  Rannoch,  were  cleared  ground,  and  there 
the  most  of  our  deer  were  got,  but  Ben  Eibhinn, 
3,611  feet,  and  Ben-na-lapt,  3,060  feet,  have  both 
been  put  under  deer  since  those  days,  so  that  pro- 
bably the  present  kill  is  nearly  double  to  what  it 
was  then,  when  two  rifles  used  to  average  twenty-five 
stags  a  season,  scaling  about  14  stone  12  lbs.  clean. 


128  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

The  heads  were  unusually  stout,  wild,  rough  and 
black,  for  before  Mamore  was  entirely  wired  in  by 
the  late  Mr.  Thistlethwaite,  the  hinds  of  Corrour 
found  mates  from  there,  from  the  Black  Mount,  from 
Ben  Alder  and  Arderikie,  so  that  no  forest  could 
possibly  be  better  placed  for  incessant  change  of 
blood,  and  the  "  hind  ground "  of  Corrour  was  ever 
doing  good  service  as  a  nursery  to  the  young 
stags  of  all  those  adjoining  forests.  In  the  rutting 
season  so  incessantly  continuous  was  the  coming  to 
and  fro  of  stags  that  Allan  MacCallum,  the  head 
stalker,  who  during  the  season  lived  chiefly  at  Corrour 
Lodge,  ever  kept  an  early  look  out  over  "the  flat" 
of  Corrour,  across  which  the  Black  Mount  deer  were 
accustomed  to  travel,  and  more  than  once  Allan 
was  in  time  to  arouse  his  master  and  get  him  into 
the  pass  leading  to  Corrie  Craegacht  for  which  the 
deer  usually  made,  but  as  on  these  occasions  Mr. 
Lucy,  forced  into  a  hasty  toilet,  merely  pulled  on  his 
knickerbockers  and  hurried  a  covert  coat  over  his 
nightshirt,  while    thrusting   his   stockingless  feet  into 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  129 

his  "hardy  brogues,"  he  thus  presented  an  appearance 
at  which  we  had  many  a  hearty  laugh. 

The  celebrated  hunter-bard  already  quoted  was  one 
Donal  MacFinlay,  who  lived   in  Fersit,   on  the  very 
spot  now  occupied  by  the  shepherd's  house  ;  he  passed 
his  days  on   the  hills  of   Loch  Treig  and  tells  how 
in     Corrie     Chreagaich     and     Dhulochan     he     killed 
wolves    as    well    as    deer    with    his    arrows,    for    no 
other   weapon    did    Donal    ever   use.      He    died    at 
a  very   old   age   at    Inverlair,    not   far  from    Fersit, 
and    in   accordance    with    his   last    request    he   was 
buried,    wrapped    in   a    deer    hide,    on    the   brow   of 
a  hill  overlooking    Loch   Treig,    where,   as  he   said, 
"  the   deer   could   couch    on   his   bed   and   the   little 
calves   rest   by   his   side " ;    and   to   this   day   where 
breathes  the  deer-stalker  who  could  wish  for  a  more 
suitable  or  pleasanter  resting-place  ? 

At  the  east  end  of  Corrour,  and  now,  I  believe,  in 
view  of  the  railway,  is  the  celebrated  Loch-an-Chlaid- 
hamh,  or  Sword  Loch,  The  story  of  how  it  won  this 
name  is  so  interesting  and  so  well  authenticated  that 

s 


I30  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

no  excuse  need  be  made  for  relating  it  here.  In 
the  middle  of  the  i6th  century  Cameron  of  Lochiel 
then  owned  Benevrich  with  Corrour,  with  most  of  the 
adjacent  lands ;  a  long-standing  dispute  existed,  how- 
ever, with  the  Earl  of  Athol  as  to  their  marches  and 
the  grazing  rights  of  certain  of  the  eastern  slopes  of 
Benevrich,  which  were  then,  even  as  they  are  now, 
famed  for  their  rich  pasturage ;  therefore  many,  but 
sanguinary,  were  the  petty  fights  over  this  disputed 
point  which  were  continually  taking  place  between 
the  followers  of  the  two  lairds.  It  happened  that 
Lochiel  and  the  Earl  of  Athol  met  by  chance  in 
Perth,  when  the  Earl  expressing  his  regret  at  the 
constant  loss  of  life  entailed  by  the  dispute, 
proposed  they  should  both  meet  on  the  property 
in  question,  each  bringing  but  two  retainers,  to 
endeavour,  on  the  spot  and  in  a  friendly  manner, 
to  settle  the  boundaries.  Lochiel  at  once  consented 
to  such  a  reasonable  offer ;  a  date  was  fixed,  and 
the  day  before  the  meeting  was  arranged  to  take 
place  he  started  with  his  two  followers  in  order  to 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  131 


be  in  good  time  at  the  appointed  rendezvous.  On  his 
way  he  was  met  by  the  wise  woman  of  Moy,  who, 
on  hearing  his  errand,  ordered  him  to  turn  back  and 
gather  together  "  three  score  and  five  "  of  his  stoutest 
men,  and  to  take  them  with  him.  In  those  times 
no  one  dreamt  of  disputing  the  commands  of  a 
reputed  wise  woman  or  witch,  therefore  Lochiel  clid 
as  he  was  bidden,  and  marching  off  with  his  men, 
he  concealed  them  in  a  hollow  close  to  the  trysting 
place.  Before  leaving  them  to  meet  the  Earl,  he 
explained  the  purpose  of  his  journey  to  his  retinue, 
and  then  showing  them  the  cloak  he  wore  had 
a  grey  outside  with  a  red  inside,  he  said  he  would 
meet  the  Earl  with  the  grey  side  out,  while  if 
there  should  be  any  sign  of  treachery  he  would 
instantly  reverse  it  to  the  red  side,  on  which  signal 
his  men  should  promptly  advance  to  his  aid. 

At  mid-day  the  parties  duly  met,  each  with  his 
two  followers ;  then  began  the  discussion,  which, 
starting  amicably,  eventually  developed  into  hot 
words ;    suddenly   the     Earl    waved    his    bonnet,    at 


132  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

which  signal  fifty  fully  armed  Athol  men  bounded 
into  sight  from  behind  a  hill  that  had  hidden  them. 
Lochiel  sternly  asked  the  Earl  what  these  men  might 
mean,  and  received  for  reply  :  "  Oh !  these  are  just 
fifty  Athol  wedders  come  to  graze  on  Benevrich,  so 
now,  Lochiel,  as  you  are  powerless,  you  must  submit 
to  my  terms  for  the  settlement  of  dispute."  In  the 
meantime  Lochiel  had  taken  off  his  cape  and  turned 
it  inside  out,  at  which  signal  his  sixty-five  men 
darted  into  sight  as  he  replied  to  the  Earl,  "And 
here  are  sixty-five  Lochaber  dogs,  each  one  thirsting 
to  taste  the  flesh  of  the  Athol  wedders."  As  it 
happened,  the  Lochaber  men  were  nearer  to  the 
Earl  than  his  own  men,  so  seeing  at  a  glance 
that  it  would  be  folly  to  engage  a  superior  force 
with  the  certainty  of  being  killed  himself,  he  frankly 
admitted  Lochiel  had  outwitted  him,  and  immediately 
agreed  to  yield  all  points  in  dispute,  while  then 
and  there  he  swore  on  the  hilt  of  his  sword — in  those 
days  the  most  solemn  Highland  oath  that  could 
be  taken — that  he   would  give  up  all    claim   to  the 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  133 


grazings  of  Benevrich,  in  token  of  which  he  hurled 
his  sword  into  the  loch,  "to  remain  for  ever  as 
an  acknowledgment  of  this  compact."  This  done, 
each  side  having  fraternized,  departed  to  their  homes 
with  mutual  good  wishes.  In  the  year  1826  this 
very  sword,  or  all  that  remained  of  it,  was  picked 
out  of  the  lake  in  a  season  of  great  drought,  by  the 
son  of  the  Caimb  herd,  who  took  it  to  a  collector 
of  curiosities,  the  Rev.  Dr.  Ross  of  Kilmonivaig. 
The  story,  however,  got  wind,  and  presently  the 
reverend  gentleman  was  waited  on  by  twelve  stout 
Lochaber  men,  who  demanded  back  the  sword  as 
a  relic  which  no  one  had  a  right  to  remove,  and 
having  obtained  it,  the  remains  of  the  old  weapon, 
of  which  nothing  remained  but  the  basket  hilt  and 
a  few  inches  of  rusty  blade,  were  once  more  deposited 
in  the  loch  with  great  solemnity. 

Prince  Charles  Edward,  when  making  his  way 
from  Lochaber  to  shelter  in  the  Cage  of  Ben 
Alder  with  Cluny  Macpherson,  passed  a  few  days 
in  Corrour,  in  a  bothy  on  a  hill  called  Mealaneach  ; 


134  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

here  Lochiel  with  two  attendants  was  also  hidden, 
and  the  Prince  was  for  some  time  in  danger  of 
meeting  his  death  at  the  hands  of  his  devoted 
adherent,  for  they  were  at  first  taken  for  foes,  and 
Lochiel  being  wounded  in  the  ankle,  resolving  to  sell 
his  life  dearly,  the  muskets  of  the  bothy  party  were 
actually  levelled  at  the  prince  and  his  friends  before  the 
mistake  was  happily  found  out.  No  trace  of  this  bothy 
now  exists  on  Mealaneach,  and  many  a  good  stag 
has  been  killed  on  this  hill  since  those  days.  It  is 
very  stony,  rocky,  broken  ground,  where,  if  a  solitary 
stag  chanced  to  be  lying  down,  only  very  good  and 
sharp  eyes  could  detect  him.  It  was  on  this  hill  on 
one  Sunday  in  August,  when  taking  a  stroll  with  Mr. 
Lucy,  that  we  both  saw  the  best  head  either  of  us  had 
ever  seen  on  a  living  stag.  We  each  had  our  glasses 
with  us  and  got  within  a  hundred  yards  of  him,  but 
he  passed  on  to  Corriecregach  without  being  aware 
of  the  two  pairs  of  envious  eyes  fixed  on  him,  or 
the  murmured  expressions  of  our  bad  luck  in  not 
being  able  to  follow  him  up  then  and  there.      Next 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  135 


morning  we  were  both  out  at  break  of  day,  but 
never  again  did  we  see  this  splendid  head  of  fourteen 
points,  each  of  which  was  a  real  big  one,  neither 
were  we  ever  able  to  hear  of  any  record  of  his  death. 
Sir  John  Stirling  Maxwell  is  now  building  a  new 
house  on  the  shores  of  Loch  Ossian  in  the  centre 
of  the  ground  ;  there  is  a  railway  station  close  by, 
probably  the  inevitable  hotel  will  follow,  while  the 
absolutely  solitary  hills  and  glens  I  knew  so  well 
will  sooner  or  later  become  the  resort  of  the  tourist 
and  the  angler. 

FOREST    OF     CUCHULLIN     BY     SLIGACHAN,     ISLE     OF  SKYE. 

This  forest,  belonging  to  Macleod  of  Macleod, 
and  rented  at  present  by  Mr.  M.  B.  Byles,  covers 
some  35,000  acres,  on  which  there  is  much  high, 
rocky  and  broken  ground.  It  is,  however,  only  a 
forest  in  name,  for,  although  the  corries  are  splendid 
and  well  suited  for  deer,  the  tourists  from  Sligachan 
are  all  over  the  ground  on  their  way  to  Loch 
Coruisk,  Scuir-na-Gillian  and  Corrie-na-Creiche,   and 


136  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

during  the  months  of  August  and  September  the 
ground  is  never  quiet ;  added  to  this,  there  are 
also  sheep  on  some  parts,  so  that  it  may  be  easily 
guessed  that  chances  at  deer  are  not  plentiful,  and 
from  four  to  five  stags  a  season  is  the  most  to  be 
expected,  and  these,  too,  not  very  good  ones. 

This  ground  is  more  often  called  Glendrynoch 
than  the  Cuchullin  Forest,  and  poor  as  the  stalking 
may  be,  the  other  sport,  in  spite  of  the  very  wet 
climate,  is  good  ;  for  in  addition  to  a  fair  bag  of 
grouse,  black  game  and  ptarmigan,  a  heavy  score 
of  woodcocks  and  snipes  can  usually  be  made. 

FOREST     OF     CULACHV. 

This  forest,  of  about  9,000  acres,  marches  with 
that  of  Glendoe ;  it  has  a  small  sanctuary,  good 
wintering  woods,  and  the  highest  ground  of  3,000 
feet  is  reached  on  the  summit  of  Corriearrick.  When 
the  wind  is  right  two  rifles  can  go  out,  and  thirty 
stags  a  season  is  the  usual  kill.  It  has  been  occupied 
by  the  present  proprietor,  Mr.  M.  K.  Angelo,  for  the 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  137 


past  eighteen  years,  who  has  been  both  tenant  and 
owner,  as  he  purchased  the  property  when  it  reverted 
to  the  Lovat  estate  on  the  death  of  Frazer  of 
Abertarf,  who  was  a  direct  descendant  of  the  well- 
known  Simon,  Lord   Lovat. 

This  is  the  only  forest  in  Scotland  where  "  cold " 
deer  are  habitually  killed  by  deerhounds,  for  out 
of  the  thirty  stags  got  in  season  1895  nearly  one 
half  were  taken  with  dogs.  The  deer  are  some- 
times approached  with  these  hounds  just  in  the 
same  way  as  if  a  "rifle"  were  making  the  stalk; 
at  other  occasions,  when  the  wind  is  favourable  and  the 
deer  hidden  from  sight,  the  hunter  can  trust  to  the 
scent  of  the  hounds,  which  is  wonderfully  keen  ;  as 
they  near  the  quarry,  the  dogs,  straining  at  the  leash, 
are  permitted  to  see  where  the  deer  are,  and  then 
instantly  made  to  lie  down.  It  now  requires  no 
small  amount  of  skill  with  patience  to  slip  the  hound 
at  the  desired  stag,  which  cannot  be  done  until  he 
separates  himself  sufficiently  from  the  herd  so  as 
to   allow   the   dog  to   see   him — and   him   only.      A 

T 


138  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

good  hound,  once  having  had  a  view  of  his  quarry, 
will  never  change  his  stag,  and  it  is  marvellous  to 
see  how  truly  they  hold  to  the  original  beast  they 
have  been  slipped  at,  even  though  he  may  have 
forced  himself  into  the  midst  of  a  herd  of  other  deer 
in  the  hope  of  baffling  pursuit. 

These  hounds  of  Mr.  Angelo's,  when  used  only 
after  wounded  deer,  soon  learn  to  pick  the  wounded 
one  out  of  a  herd,  and  as  they  possess  the  ability 
to  kill,  are  much  quicker  and  more  powerful  than 
trackers,  collie  or  ordinary  Scotch  deerhounds,  a 
wounded  beast  is  put  out  of  his  misery  in  less 
time  than  would  be  required  by  the  ordinary  hound. 
In  this  coursing  of  cold  deer  only  one  dog  is 
slipped,  the  other  being  let  go  as  soon  as  it  is  seen 
the  first  hound  has  gone  right ;  the  second  dog  is  then 
sure  to  follow  the  first,  and  as  they  are  not  slipped 
at  deer  in  very  unfavourable  places,  a  good  view  of  the 
chase  with  the  eventual  kill  can  usually  be  obtained. 
These  hounds  of  Mr.  Angelo's  are  the  result  of  long 
and  careful  breeding  for  power  combined  with  speed. 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  139 


In  height  and  weight  they  far  exceed  the  ordinary 
Scotch  deerhound,  while  retaining  all  the  supple 
activity  of  the  breed.  A  Siberian  sire  and  an 
Irish  wolfhound  mother  have  given  dogs — "Goth" 
to  wit — of  thirty-four  inches  high  at  the  shoulder, 
weighing,  when  in  running  condition,  135  lbs.,  or  nearly 
ten  stone.  Although  these  dogs  are  of  splendidly  fierce 
aspect,  yet  withal  their  manners  are  most  gentle,  until 
slipped  at  a  stag,  and  then  their  ferocity  and  courage 
are  truly  remarkable.  Mr.  Angelo  has  also  another 
breed  in  "  Bran  II."  from  an  Irish  wolfhound  dog  in 
the  possession  of  Lord  Caledon,  from  a  mother  of  the 
same  species,  which  run  up  to  thirty-two  inches  at 
the  shoulder  and  weigh  130  lbs.  Now  Scotch  deer- 
hounds  have  been  bred  to  reach  thirty  inches,  but 
when  so  large  they  are  rarely  of  any  use  in  the 
field  ;  twenty-eight  or  twenty-nine  inches  is  their  best 
size,  so  therefore  it  can  easily  be  imagined  what  an 
advantage  any  dog  would  have  when  standing  five 
or  six  inches  higher  and  yet  possessing  equal  speed. 
Mr.    Angelo   is   likewise    a   great   believer   in  the 


I40  THE   DEER    FORESTS   OF  SCOTLAND. 

benefits  to  be  derived  by  deer  from  feeding  off  fresh 
pastures,  and  he  has  sub-divided  his  forest  into  five 
portions.  From  No.  i  division  the  deer  are  excluded 
and  Highland  cattle  turned  in  ;  the  season  following 
these  are  replaced  by  sheep,  and  the  cattle  are  put 
on  to  No.  3  division  ;  then  the  sheep  are  removed 
from  No.  i  to  No.  2,  and  the  deer  re-admitted  to 
No.  I,  and  to  this  fresh  pasture  almost  the  whole 
of  the  deer  in  the  place  will  gather ;  thus  there 
are  successions  of  cattle,  then  sheep,  then  deer,  on 
each  division  of  the  forest.  In  addition  to  the  benefit 
to  the  deer,  there  is  also  by  this  method  of  manage- 
ment a  reduction  of  forest  rent,  as  ground  suited  to 
cattle  and  sheep  fetches  even  yet  a  fair  price. 

During  the  extremely  severe  weather  of  January, 
1895,  Mr,  Angelo  noticed  that  very  large  numbers  of 
deer  came  into  a  hillside  covered  with  thick  whins, 
and  that  not  only  did  they  shelter  here,  but  they  lived 
on  the  whin  bushes,  which  fact  may  perhaps  give 
a  hint  to  those  gentlemen  in  whose  forests  trees  will 
not  thrive,  for  I   believe  the  whin  will  prosper  any- 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  141 


where  when  once  it  has  laid  hold  of  the  soil.  In  days 
gone  by  the  country  people  used  to  keep  utensils  and 
implements  specially  for  bruising  and  breaking  up  the 
gathered  whins,  which  their  cattle  then  devoured 
with  avidity. 

FORESTS    OF    DUNDREGGAN    (tHE    MEADOW   OF 

THE     dragon),      INVERWICK     AND      SOUTH     CAENNOCROC 

BY    GLENMORISTON. 

These  three  properties  all  belong  to  Mr.  Grant 
of  Glenmoriston,  and  are  let  as  one  to  Mr.  J.  G. 
Bannatyne.  The  two  first-named  consist  of  11,200 
acres  of  forest  and  some  7,000  acres  of  grouse 
ground  and  wood.  South  Caennocroc  is  about 
12,000  acres  of  cleared  ground,  with  a  little  over 
3,000  acres  of  grouse  ground.  The  forest  marches 
with  Invermoriston,  Inchnacardoch,  Glenquoich,  and 
North  Caennocroc.  Part  of  the  ground  has  been 
for  ages  under  deer,  and  indeed  as  regards  this 
particular  portion  there  is  no  record  that  it  has  ever 
been   anything  but  deer  forest.     It  will  carry  three 


142  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

rifles ;  the  bag  is  made  solely  by  stalking,  and 
averages  sixty-five  stags  of  about  15  stone,  but 
of  how  they  are  weighed  I  have  no  information. 

FOREST  OF  ERCHLESS  BY  BEAULY. 

A  BEAUTIFULLY  Situated  but  small  Chisholm  pro- 
perty, of  which  some  8,000  acres  are  under  deer. 
On  the  north  it  marches  with  Scatwell  Forest,  on 
the  south  with  Urchany,  on  the  east  with  sheep 
ground,  and  on  the  west  with  Corriehallie.  Erchless 
— written  also  Erglass,  Earghlas  and  Easterglass — 
means  in  Gaelic  "  the  grey  valley,"  and  here  in  his 
castle,  in  1689,  the  Chisholm  of  those  days  manfully 
resisted  a  siege  by  his  enemies,  and  it  is  of  this 
hero  the  story  is  told  that  on  hearing  some  rival 
chieftain  spoken  of  with  the  prefix  "the"  attached 
to  his  name,  he  proclaimed  loudly  and  with  in- 
dignation that  only  three  people  in  the  world  were 
entitled  to  such  distinction,  namely,  "the  King,  the 
Pope,  and  the  Chisholm." 


JNVERNESS-SHIRE.  143 


FOREST    OF    FARLEY    AND    URCHANY    BY    BEAULY. 

This  small  forest  of  Lord  Lovat's  is  let  to  Major 
Paynter,  and  contains  some  4,500  acres  of  open 
moor  and  planted  ground.  It  marches  with  Erchless 
deer  ground  on  the  west,  while  in  all  other  directions 
a  deer  fence  divides  it  from  the  low-lying  grounds 
adjoining.  The  kill  is  limited  to  35  stags,  which 
average  16  stone  clean. 

FOREST   OF   FASNAKYLE    OR    FASNAKOIL   BY    BEAULY. 

This  is  another  of  the  Chisholm  properties  ajid 
is  let  to  Sir  John  Edwardes  Moss.  It  covers  about 
31,000  acres  of  ground  admirably  suited  to  deer, 
and  marches  with  the  forests  of  Glencannich,  Affaric 
and  Knockfin.  There  is  no  regular  sanctuary,  but  it 
is  usual  to  avoid  one  of  the  favourite  hills  for  deer  early 
in  the  season,  and  in  addition  to  this  many  of  them 
being  fringed  with  birch  wood  for  miles,  also  afford 
good  wintering ;  it  was  in  these  very  woods  Prince 
Charles    Edward    hid    for    three    days    when    hard 


144  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

pressed  to  escape  from  the  royal  troops  at  Fort 
Augustus.  There  are  several  high  hills,  of  which 
the  highest  rises  to  3,400  feet.  As  a  rule,  the  forest 
carries  two  rifles  all  through  the  season,  though 
towards  the  end  of  the  time  and  in  good  wind  a 
third  can  be  sent  out.  This  forest  has  a  history  of 
its  own,  as  from  1880  to  1893  it  formed  one  of 
the  Winans  group,  and  on  good  authority  I  am 
told  that  during  all  that  time  no  shot  was  fired  on 
it,  and  that,  as  far  as  the  actual  killing  of  deer  on 
this  ground  was  concerned,  it  had  a  twelve  years' 
jubilee,  although  probably  the  deer  were  at  times 
driven  off  it  into  Beauly  forest,  for  Mr.  Winans' 
deer-drives ;  thus  many  fine  beasts  were  produced, 
but,  nevertheless,  during  all  these  twelve  years 
in-breeding  was  telling  its  tale,  and  for  one  good 
stag  that  was  reared,  there  were  half-a-dozen  poor 
ones  which  never  came  to  anything.  In  1893, 
when  Mr.  Winans  gave  it  up,  Mr.  W.  H.  Walker 
rented  it,  and  got  from  one  hundred  to  one 
hundred  and  twenty  of  the  best  stags  in  the  forest, 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  145 

which  was  more  than  the  ground  would  fairly 
stand.  Sir  John  took  it  for  1894,  which  was  a 
very  late  season  in  this  forest,  for  on  the  3rd  of 
October  he  saw  a  seven-pointer  still  in  full  velvet ; 
in  that  season  he  was  limited  to  seventy-five 
stags,  and  having  killed  sixty-seven  by  the  27th 
of  September,  he  stopped  on  that  date  owing  to 
the  beasts  being  then  already  far  run.  In  1895  up 
to  the  1 6th  of  September,  Sir  John  had  but  fourteen 
stags  and  but  two  real  good  ones  in  the  lot.  It 
was  in  this  district  that  that  good  sportsman,  the 
late  Mr.  Edward  Ross,  commenced  his  career  as 
deerstalker,  when  in  1854  he  killed  his  first  stag 
in  Glencannich.  In  those  days  none  of  the  Chisholm 
property  was  afforested,  but  beyond  the  head  of 
Loch  Afifaric  Mr.  Ross  on  his  first  day  out  fell  in 
with  some  of  the  real  big  ones  in  a  very  steep  and 
wild  corrie  beyond  Cralich,  his  first  shot  result- 
ing in  a  splendid  royal  of  20  stones  clean ;  he 
slept  that  night  in  a  wooden  bothy  at  Alt  Beg, 
and  was  out  at  dawn  next  day,  when  he  again  had 

U 


146  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

the  good  luck  to  fall  in  with  this  herd  of  "great 
gentlemen "  in  some  very  rough  broken  ground,  on 
which  in  four  shots  he  got  four  others  of  the  herd, 
two  of  which  were  also  royals.  Five  shots  and 
five  stags,  three  of  which  were  monarchs,  as  may 
well  be  supposed  made  a  great  impression  on  the 
lad  of  seventeen,  as  indeed  it  ought ! 

THE      FOREST     OF     GAICK,     OR     GAIG,      OR      GAWICK,      BY 

KINGUSSIE. 

This  forest,  together  with  the  others  of  the 
Badenoch  district,  is  of  great  antiquity,  the  whole 
of  them  at  one  time  having  belonged  to  the  Earls 
of  Huntly.  Two  hundred  years  ago  that  nobleman 
owned  Gaick,  Glenfeshie,  Glenavon,  Glenmore,  Drum- 
ochter,  Ben  Alder,  and  the  Loch  Treig  district 
right  up  to  Fort  William,  or  some  220  square  miles 
of  truly  magnificent  property.  In  those  days  none 
of  the  forests  were  appropriated  entirely  to  the 
deer,  for  the  tenants  were  allowed  to  put  up  shielings 
on  the  edges  of  the  deer  grounds,  and  their  cattle 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  147 

could  pasture  where  they  listed  all  the  day  through, 
on  the  strictest  understanding  that  every  beast 
should  be  herded  back  to  the  shieling  each  even- 
ing, and  any  that  were  left  in  the  forest  were 
liable  to  be  poinded,  only  to  be  recovered  by  the 
payment  of  a  smart  fine,  all  of  which  regulations 
worked  very  well  in  those  days. 

After  1745  the  whole  of  the  Badenoch  forests 
except  Gaick  were  let  as  grazings,  but  this  forest 
the  Duke  of  Gordon  kept  in  his  own  hands  as  deer 
ground  until  1788,  when  it  also  was  let  as  a  sheep 
walk,  and  so  remained  until  1826,  when  it  was  once 
again  placed  under  deer. 

Gaick  covers  between  twelve  and  thirteen  thousand 
acres  of  fine  stalking  ground,  and  now  belongs  to  Sir 
George  Macpherson  Grant  of  Ballindalloch,  who 
bought  it  in  1830  from  the  Duke  of  Gordon,  and 
as  showing  what  a  desirable  forest  this  is,  it  may 
be  mentioned  that  since  that  time  it  has  had  but 
five  tenants.  For  the  last  twenty-one  years  it  was 
held  by  the  late  Colonel  John  Hargreaves,  of  Maiden 


148  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

Erlegh,  that  staunch  friend  and  good  sportsman,  who 
early  in  last  October  died  at  Glentromie  Lodge,  in 
the  country  he  loved  so  well,  and  Gaick  is  now 
held  by  his  sons.  The  other  previous  tenants  have 
been  Sir  Joseph  Radcliffe,  Captain  Littledale,  Lord 
Lilford  and  Mr.  Edwards  Moss. 

The  forest  lodge,  of  which  a  drawing  is  given,  is 
quite  a  unique  building  of  the  old  days,  which, 
however,  is  to  my  mind  more  in  keeping  with  its 
wild  rugged,  surroundings  than  any  more  modern 
or  prettier  style  of  architecture  could  be ;  while 
once  inside  a  house  of  this  sort  the  interior  will 
usually  be  found  more  solid,  warm,  and  comfortable 
than  the  present-day  shooting  box,  for  on  entering 
the  hospitable  doors  of  Gaick  Lodge  the  scene 
quickly  changes,  and  it  can  be  recognized  at  a 
glance  that  the  very  thick  walls  must  not  only  keep 
the  lodge  warm,  but  offer  sure  protection  from  and 
resistance  to  the  fierce  gales  that  periodically  sweep 
the  valley  with  such  force  as  to  make  even  this 
stout   building   rock,   shake   and   quiver   like   a   ship 


*      >        >  l> 

'       ■•>• 


o 
a 
o 


CO 

u 

O 
a, 

U 
< 

o 


.''• 


V    ••••' 


mVERNESS-SHIRE.  149 

Struck  by  a  big  sea.  Stern,  white,  angular  and 
uncompromisingly  plain,  Gaick  forest  lodge  stands 
out  by  itself  against  a  background  of  peat,  heather, 
and  green  hill,  towards  which  it  turns  its  pallid 
front.  Near  the  back  of  the  lodge  is  the  sanctuary 
of  some  two  square  miles  on  the  shore  of  Loch- 
an-t-Seillich,  by  some  erroneously  called  Gaick  Loch, 
in  which  the  natives  vow  there  dwells  a  giant 
species  of  fish  called  Dorman  or  Dormain ;  powerful 
fellows  with  very  big  heads,  who,  the  legend  says, 
pass  their  lives  in  trying  to  hinder  the  salmon  from 
the  Tromie  from  entering  the  loch,  but  in  this  they 
are  not  always  successful,  for  Mr.  John  Hargreaves 
tells  me  he  has  caught  salmon  above  the  loch. 
Facing  the  house,  but  further  up  the  valley,  are  Loch 
Vrotten  and  Loch-an-duin.  At  the  back  of  the  first- 
named  loch  the  Doune  hill  rises  sharply  from  the 
waterside  to  1,000  feet,  and  has  a  remarkable  appear- 
ance, as  it  is  somewhat  in  the  shape  of  a  house, 
but  there  are  many  higher  hills  in  Gaick,  amongst 
them  "  Stac-meall-na-Cuaich,"  "  the  hill  of  the  cup," 


ISO  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

"  Bogha-Cloiche,"  "stoneybow,"  and  A  Chioch,  "the 
pap,"  are  each  just  about  3,000  ft.  high. 

The   forest   is    divided    by  a  natural    conformation 
of  deep  ravines  into  three  distinct  beats,  north,  east 
and  south  ;    of  these  the  east  is   the  best,  and  over 
it    Edward   Ormiston,    the    head    forester,   most   ably 
presides,    for    no    gentleman    could    wish    a    better, 
bolder,  more  brilliant  stalker,  or  pleasanter  companion 
on  the  hill.     The  south    beat,    when    I    was    last  at 
Gaick,   was  well   cared   for   by  one   "  David,"  while 
"  Big  John  "  did   the  honours  of  the  north  division, 
and   each    of    these    men    was    above    the    average 
of    stalkers.     Gaick    is    splendidly    suited    to    deer, 
being  joined  on  all  sides  but  one  by  other  fine  forests, 
for  on    the  west   and   south-west  come    the  recently 
cleared   grounds,    belonging   to   the    Duke  of  Athol, 
of  Stronphadrig,  South  Dalnamein,  and  Glas  Choire. 
On    the  south-east.    Glen   Bruar  and  Atholl  join   in, 
while  Glenfeshie  runs  on  the  north,  and  this  latter 
forest  divides  Gaick  from  Mar  by  but  a  narrow  slip 
of  land.    The  annual  kill  varies  a  good  deal,  according 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  151 


to  the  wind  that  prevails  during  the  stalking  season, 
and  ranges  from  forty-five  to  sixty  good  stags,  with 
a  mean  weight  of  14  stone  7  lbs.,  clean.  During 
the  twenty  years  Colonel  Hargreaves  had  Gaick  he 
killed  just  under  a  thousand  stags,  which  makes  an 
average  of  a  fraction  of  close  upon  fifty  stags  a  season. 
The  worst  winds  for  this  forest  are  long  spells  of 
south  and  south-easterly  ones,  while  breezes  that 
continue  to  blow  from  north  and  north-west  are  the 
best.  The  present  lodge  has  been  built  nearly  a 
hundred  years,  and  near  it  may  still  be  seen  the 
ruins  of  old  Gaick  Lodge,  which,  being  placed  too 
near  the  over-hanging  brow  of  the  steep  hill  on 
the  left  of  the  illustration,  was  in  1800  destroyed 
by  an  avalanche,  by  which  Captain  John  Macpherson 
of  Balachroan,  together  with  his  four  attendants  and 
some  deerhounds,  were  all  killed,  for  they  had  most 
unfortunately  sheltered  in  the  house  only  that  very 
night  in  order  to  avoid  the  fury  of  a  hill  snow- 
storm in  which  they  had  been  overtaken  when  out 
in    pursuit   of    the    hinds.      The    body    of    Captain 


152  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

Macpherson  was  found  lying  face  downwards  on 
his  bed,  but  so  great  was  the  force  of  the  rush  of 
snow  and  stones  that  it  not  only  laid  the  house  low, 
but  carried  the  bodies  of  the  four  servants  to  a 
considerable  distance  from  the  ruins.  About  half 
way  up  the  steep  ravine,  called  the  Gairb  Gaick, 
which  divides  the  south  from  the  east  beat,  a  track 
called  Comyn's  road  runs  into  it  at  right  angles, 
and  at  this  spot,  somewhere  about  1390,  Walter 
Comyn  of  Badenoch,  a  descendant  of  "  The  Wolf," 
met  with  his  death.  Tradition  has  it  that  this 
Walter,  who  inherited  all  the  fierce  tyrannous  nature 
of  his  ancestor,  Buchan  the  Wolf  of  Badenoch,  had 
commanded  a  number  of  his  farm  girls  to  appear, 
clad  in  nothing  warmer  than  the  garb  of  mother 
Eve,  at  one  of  his  farms  at  Ruthven,  where  they 
were  to  reap  a  field  of  corn.  On  the  day  fixed 
for  the  carrying  out  of  this  infamous  project,  Walter 
Comyn  started  on  horseback  to  travel  through  Gaick 
to  reach  Ruthven,  where  he  was  to  witness  this 
outrage   on    maiden    modesty,    but    his    advent    was 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  153 

represented  only  by  his  horse,  which  arrived  bathed 
in  blood,  while  from  a  stirrup  there  hung  one  of 
Comyn's  legs  still  in  its  boot.  A  search  was  at 
once  made,  and  his  body  was  discovered  at  the  spot 
where  this  ancient  track  descends  sharply  into  the 
Gairb-Gaick  ravine,  and  seated  on  it  and  busily 
engaged  in  tearing  it  to  pieces  were  two  large  eagles ; 
and  though  there  is  nothing  surprising  in  these  birds 
making  a  meal  from  a  dead  body,  yet  the  country 
folk,  one  and  all,  agreed  that  they  were  two  of 
the  mothers  of  two  of  the  girls  who  were  to  have 
reaped  the  corn,  and  that  magic  power  had  been 
granted  them  to  assume  eagle  shapes  on  purpose 
to  attack  Comyn,  and  defeat  the  accomplishment 
of  his  barbarous  design,  while  to  this  day  the  fate 
of  Walter  is  yet  proverbial  amongst  the  Highlanders, 
for  when  any  of  them  are  much  incensed,  without 
the  means  of  revenge,  it  is  not  uncommon  to  hear 
them  utter,  "  May  the  fate  of  Walter  in  Gaick 
overtake  you."  At  the  time  of  the  avalanche  there 
was  an  idea  then  prevalent,  which  is  even  now  not 

X 


154  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

entirely  exploded,  that  babies  could  not  come  into 
the  world  unless  the  mother  had  plenty  of  whisky, 
and  at  the  time  of  this  catastrophe  one  of  the  Gaick 
foresters  was  returning  from  the  purchase  of  a  cargo 
of  whisky  (carried  ozUside  him)  for  his  wife  when 
he  met  the  party  in  search  of  Captain  Macpherson, 
and  having  joined  them,  it  is  almost  needless  to  say 
the  whisky  did  not  reach  the  wife.  The  baby  was, 
however,  born  all  right,  and  without  the  help  of  spirits, 
was  duly  named  Donald  Macpherson,  and  lived  to 
become  head  forester  in  Caennocroc,  where  he  died 
not  so  very  long  ago,   for  he  lived  to  a  great  age. 

Stories  of  witches  and  fairies  are  rife  in  every 
forest,  and  indeed  for  that  matter  all  over  Scotland, 
Gaick  being  no  exception  to  the  rule,  and  the  follow- 
ing two  may  serve  as  specimens  for  this  forest  and  all 
the  others  : — A  noted  deerstalker  was  out  early  one 
morning  in  the  forest,  and  observing  some  deer  at 
a  distance  got  near  them,  but  without  being  quite 
within  shot ;  on  taking  a  peep  at  them  over  a 
knowe,    he  was  astonished  to  see  a  number  of  tiny 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  155 


women,   dressed  in  green,  milking  the  hinds,  one  of 
whom  had  a  hank  of  green  worsted  thrown  over  her 
shoulder,  at  which,  while  she  was  milking,  the  hind 
made  a  grab  and  swallowed  it.     The  fairy  in  a  rage 
struck  the  hind  with  the  leather  band  which  she  had 
been  using   to   tie  its  hind   legs  during  the  milking, 
calling   out   at    the    same   time :   "  May    a  dart    from 
Murdoch's   quiver   pierce    your    side    before    night." 
Now  Murdoch  was  no  other  than  the  silent  witness  of 
this  scene,  and,  fearing  to  be  detected,  he  turned  the 
other  way  and  departed  to  seek  venison  elsewhere. 
Later  on  in  the  same  day  he  killed  a  hind,  in  which, 
when  he  gralloched  her,  he  found  the  identical  hank 
he  had  seen  the  deer  swallow  in  the  morning.     On 
another  occasion  this  same  Murdoch,  who  appears  to 
have  been  somewhat  favoured  by  the  fairies,  had  got 
within  shot  of  a  hind  on  the  Doune  Hill,  and  as  he  took 
aim  he  saw  it  was  a  young  woman,  and  not  a  hind, 
that    stood   before    him.     He   at    once    lowered   his 
weapon,  when  immediately  the  thing  was  once  more 
a  deer,  and  this  happened  several  times.     When,  how- 


156  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF   SCOTLAND. 

ever,  the  sun  set,   he  again   took   aim,  and  on  firing 
the  object  fell  dead  in   the  actual    shape  of  a  deer. 
Murdoch  being  then  suddenly  overpowered  by  sleep, 
laid    down    in    the    heather   to    rest,    when   in    a  few 
minutes    a   voice    thundered    in    his   ear :  "  Murdoch, 
Murdoch,    you    have    this    day   slain    the    only    maid 
of    the    Doune ! "    and,    jumping    up,    he    retorted : 
"If    I   have   killed    her,    you   may   eat    her!"    while 
he  at    once    bolted    off    as    fast   as    his    legs    would 
carry  him.     In  the   present   prosaic    days    this   story 
sounds  uncommonly    as    if  stalker    Murdoch    had    a 
weakness   for  the  whiskey    bottle,  but   be  that  as  it 
may,    his  successors    claim    that    the    celebrated   Mr. 
Sheridan    was    descended    from    one    of    Murdoch's 
daughters.       Another    commonly    prevalent    supersti- 
tion was   the   belief  in    a    Leannan    Stieth    or   fairy 
sweetheart,  and  all  those  stalkers  who  passed  their 
days  and  nights  in  the  forest  were  credited  with  such 
a  connection,  from  which  the  earthly  wife  was  ever 
supposed  to  be  in  great  danger  on  account  of  the  evil 
wishes  and  designs  of  the  fairy  one. 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  157 


Glentromie  Lodge,  about  eight  miles  from  Gaick, 
and  only  three  from  Kingussie,  is  usually  let  with  the 
forest,  and  with  this  there  goes  some  11,000  acres 
of  most  excellent  grouse  shooting,  the  two  places 
combined  making  one  of  the  best  of  the  many  fine 
sporting  estates  of  Scotland. 

FOREST  OF  GLENCANNICH  BY  BEAULY. 

This  is  one  of  the  Chisholm  forests,  of  which  I 
regret  having  no  particular  information.  On  the 
north  it  marches  with  Monar  and  Braulen,  on  the 
west  with  Attadale  and  Patt,  on  the  south  with 
Benula  and  Fasnakyle,  and  sheep  ground  bounds 
it  on  the  east.  The  glens  of  Affaric  and  Cannich 
are  both  very  steep  and  narrow,  and  Longart  at 
the  head  of  Glencannich  is  perhaps  the  wettest 
place  in  all  Scotland,  and  for  this  reason  the  river 
Glass,  a  tributary  of  the  Beauly,  is  subject  to  most 
violently  sudden  floods  from  heavy  rains  or  melting 
snow,  which  renders  any  cultivation  of  the  low- 
lying  lands  on  the   banks    of    the    river    not    only 


ts8  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

most  unprofitable,  but  nearly  impossible,  while  the 
washing  away  of  roads  and  bridges  is  a  common 
occurrence. 

FOREST  OF  GLENDOE  BY  FORT  AUGUSTUS. 

This  good  forest,  formed  in  1877,  belongs  to 
Lord  Lovat,  is  rented  by  Colonel  A.  H.  Charlesworth, 
and  consists  of  some  18,000  acres  of  fine  deer 
ground,  of  which  the  west  beat  is  very  steep  and 
rocky,  while  that  to  the  east  is  fine  open  undulating 
hill.  Murligan  wood,  sloping  to  the  shores  of 
Lochness,  affords  splendid  wintering,  while  the  loch 
itself  forms  a  good  water  march  on  the  north  of 
the  forest.  On  the  west  Mr.  Angelo's  deer  ground 
to  Culachy  comes  in,  while  on  the  other  side  it  joins 
the  sheep  grounds  of  Killin  shootings,  and  one  of 
Sir  J.  Ramsden's  moors.  The  highest  hills  are 
Carn-na-hullin  and  Meal-na-caca,  from  which  latter 
hillside  issue  springs  nearly  as  potent  as  those  of 
Hunyady,  and  hence  the  Gaelic  name,  which  is  not 
translatable   to   ears  polite.     In   the   middle   beat   is 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  159 


a  sanctuary  of  considerable  extent,  zealously  looked 
after  by  Rory  Chisholm,  the  head  forester.  The 
usual  kill  is  from  forty  to  forty-five  stags,  which 
average  the  fine  weight  of  15  stones  6  lbs.  clean. 
During  the  life  time  of  Mr.  Edward  Ross,  he  and 
the  present  Lord  Lovat  shared  this  forest  between 
them,  and  one  day  when  stalking  together  they 
approached  a  stag  in  Corrie  Arrick  on  a  side  wind, 
when,  having  got  to  about  three  hundred  yards  from 
their  quarry,  the  beast  laid  down,  and  they  had  to 
wait  on  him ;  suddenly  the  deer  sprang  up  to 
bolt  full  tilt  towards  them,  a  proceeding  which 
was  followed  by  bang !  bang !  from  the  opposite 
side  of  the  corrie,  while  two  bullets  smacked  on  the 
rocks  not  very  far  above  the  heads  of  the  lawful 
stalkers.  The  poacher  had  clean  missed  his  stag, 
which  came  galloping  full  tilt  past  Lord  Lovat,  who 
killed  him  dead,  and  after  running  up  to  cut  the 
throat,  but  without  waiting  to  perform  the  gralloch, 
the  whole  party  dashed  off  in  pursuit  of  this  daring 
fellow,  but  Lord   Lovat's  shot  had  of  course  given 


i6o  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

him  warning,  so  what  with  the  good  start  he 
thus  got  and  aided  by  the  broken  nature  of  the 
ground,  the  would-be  deer-slayer  managed  to  escape 
scot-free.  In  this  forest  Mr.  Edward  Ross  made 
a  remarkable  piece  of  good  shooting  at  a  fourteen- 
pointer,  who  after  a  difficult  stalk  got  wind  of 
the  party  when  they  were  some  1 50  yards  distant ; 
off  he  galloped  best  pace,  and  when  at  about 
180  yards  Mr.  Ross  sent  in  his  first  bullet,  the 
"smack"  of  which  could  be  heard  as  it  struck  the 
stag,  who,  however,  did  not  stop,  but  turned  end  on, 
giving  no  further  chance  till  about  250  yards  off, 
when  an  opening  at  length  presenting  itself  Mr. 
Ross  fired  again,  and  the  stag  fell  dead.  On 
reaching  the  spot,  it  was  seen  that  the  first  bullet 
had  passed  through  the  heart,  while  the  second  one 
had  almost  exactly  followed  the  same  line,  for  the 
two  bullet-holes  were  not  an  inch  apart. 

Old  Murdoch,  who  was  forester  in  Glendoe  until 
old  age  forced  him  to  retire  from  active  service, 
relates  a  pretty  story  of  the  kind-heartedness  of  the 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  i6i 


late   Lord  Lovat.     One  day  when  out  stalking,  and 
being  near  to  Murdoch's  hill-bothy,   he   went   in,  as 
was  his  wont,   to  have   a   chat,  when,  whilst   sitting 
at   the  open   door,  there   appeared  a  very   fine  stag 
feeding  over  the  sky-line  not  300  yards  distant.     Lord 
Lovat   sprang   to   his   feet   to   seize   his    rifle   whilst 
saying  to    Murdoch,    "  Look   at   that  splendid   stag ! 
It  is  more  than  a  royal."     To  this  the  veteran  replied, 
"Yes,  my  lord;  he  is  just  a  grand  fourtecn-pointer, 
and   o'er  yon  knoll  he  comes  most  days  about  this 
hour,  until  at  last  I've  learnt  to  look  for  him  and  treat 
him   as   a   friend."     On    hearing   these   words    Lord 
Lovat   at   once   laid   aside    his    rifle,  simply   saying, 
•'  Well,  Murdoch,  it  will  never  be  levelled  against  any 
friend  of  yours ;  "  and  thus  to  please  his  old  servant  he 
denied   himself   a    chance   such   as   few  deerstalkers 
would  have  been  able  to  resist. 

During  the  occupation  of  Fort  Augustus  by  the 
Duke  of  Cumberland's  army,  the  hills  of  this  forest  were 
silent  witnesses  of  many  cruelly  savage  reprisals  on 
the  Highlanders  by  the  royal  soldiers.     Indeed,  the 


l6a  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

whole  immediate  district  around  Kil  Chuimein,  or  the 
present  Fort  Augustus,  became  but  one  hundred 
and  fifty  years  ago  the  scene  of  atrocities  which,  if 
historians  are  to  be  beheved,  nearly  equalled  those 
Armenian  horrors  against  which  all  civilized  Europe 
is  at  present  indignantly  protesting. 

FOREST    OF    GLENFESHIE    BY    KINGUSSIE. 

This  most  excellent  forest,  so  seldom  in  the  market, 
belongs  jointly  to  The  Mackintosh  and  Sir  George 
Macpherson  Grant  of  Ballindalloch  ;  this  last-named 
gentleman  owns  the  larger   portion,   but   unless   the 
two  properties  are  let  as  one,   Glenfeshie  would  not 
be    the    good    forest    it    is.       Mr.     Macpherson    of 
Ballindalloch    purchased    his    part   of    the   forest   in 
1812    from   the    Duke   of    Gordon.      For    the    past 
four  seasons  it  has  been  rented  by  the  Baron  J.  W. 
H.  Schroder,  and  covers  some  38,000  acres,  in  which 
however   is   included  about    12,000   acres    of  grouse 
and    low  ground   shooting.     More   than    two  parties 
are   never  sent   to   the    forest,    which   is    essentially 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  ,63 


a  Stag  ground,  the  number  of  hinds  being  com- 
paratively small,  as  they  prefer  the  lower  lands 
of  Mar,  Atholl,  Gaick  and  Glenbruar,  which  almost 
surround  Glenfeshie.  The  late  Mr.  Ellice  was  here 
the  introducer  of  the  well-known  "Glenfeshie  Mix- 
ture," a  shepherd's  plaid  with  a  large  red  check 
running  through  it,  which,  though  here  not  now 
much  used,  still  remains  a  favourite  cloth  in  the 
adjoining  forest  of  Invereshie,  while  later  on,  when 
Mr.  Ellice  bought  Glengarry,  it  became  the  standard 
pattern  for  that  ground  also.  The  stalking  is  not 
difficult,  as,  although  many  of  the  hills  are  high  and 
exceed  3,000  ft.,  the  stags  are  more  often  found 
round  the  bases  than  on  the  tops  of  these  very  tall 
ranges.  Brae  Riach,  "the  brindled  top,"  an  admir- 
able description,  is  4,248  ft;  Monadh  Mor,  "big 
mountain,"  3,651  ft.;  Meall  Tionail,  "the  gathering 
hill,"  3.338  ft.;  and  Carn  Ban,  "the  pale  cairn," 
3,445  ft.,  while  there  are  many  others  nearly  as  high. 
At  the  present  time  the  season's  kill  is  between 
105    and    no   stags,   weighed   with   heart   and   liver 


l64  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

included,  while  for  the  past  four  years  they  have 
averaged  about  14  stone,  although  every  care  has 
been  taken  not  to  kill  small  beasts.  The  present 
lessee  attributes  this  shortness  of  weight  to  two 
causes :  first,  the  grazing  is  not  so  good  as  could 
be  wished  ;  and,  secondly,  owing  to  the  small 
number  of  hinds,  all  the  best  stags  desert  the 
forest  as  soon  as  the  rut  commences,  to  make  for 
the  adjacent  ones,  in  which  the  bulk  of  the  hinds 
are  quartered.  Since  Baron  Schroder  has  had  Glen- 
feshie,  his  best  season  was  in  1893,  when  he  got 
several  fine  stags  of  from  19  to  16  stone,  one  of 
which  had  a  splendid  head  of  thirteen  points,  with 
a  span  of  34  inches  inside  and  38  inches  outside 
measurement. 

Since  1892  there  has  been  a  beautiful  white  hart 
in  this  forest,  which  has  grown  into  a  fine  beast  with 
a  good  head,  but  up  to  July,  '95,  he  had  not  made 
his  re-appearance,  albeit  the  Baron  has  no  doubt  of 
seeing  him  again,  as  he  has  the  assurance  of  all  his 
neighbours  that  they  will  not  touch  him.     In  a  case 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  165 


like  this  it  would  almost  make  the  enthusiast  wish  that 
the  old  law  of  death  to  the  poacher,  of  Henry  III.  and 
even  later  monarchs,  should  be  revived  in  favour  of 
this  beautiful  creature.  Before  Baron  Schroder  ruled 
in  Glenfeshie,  Sir  Charles  Mordaunt  had  it  for 
fourteen  years,  and  I  can  testify  to  the  many  splendid 
trophies  from  this  forest  that  adorn  the  walls  of 
Walton  Hall,  Sir  Charles'  house  in  Warwickshire. 
In  a  letter  to  me  Sir  Charles  describes  Glenfeshie 
as  "a  perfect  place  for  all-round  sport,"  and  states 
that  to  him  it  will  ever  remain  "  I  lie  terrarum  mihi 
praeter  omnes  angulus  ridet,"  which  is  a  pretty  use  of 
a  quotation  that  also  shows  Sir  Charles  has  not 
forgotten  his  Horace. 

In  this  forest  Landseer  painted  many  pictures, 
being  especially  fond  of  studying  the  deerhounds  bred 
by  old  Malcolm  Clark  the  Fox-hunter.  At  one  period 
there  were  two  sets  of  huts  in  the  glen,  in  one  of 
which,  on  the  Mackintosh  portion,  Landseer  painted  a 
group  of  deer  with  a  suspicious  hind  on  the  plaster 
above   the   fireplace;   but   as    the    huts   came   to   be 


i66  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

disused,  this  chalk  drawing  was  left  exposed  to  the 
damp,  and  though  the  remains  of  it  are  still  to  be  seen, 
they  are  in  a  very  dilapidated  condition.    The  other  of 
these  huts  was  for  a  long  time  occupied  by  Georgina, 
Duchess  of  Bedford,  who  was  greatly  attached  to  the 
place,   and   so    much    so    that    when  the   Mackintosh 
proposed  to  sell  some  of  the  pine  wood,  she  purchased 
most  of  the  finest  trees,  and  her  mark,  consisting  of 
a  tablet  with  her   coronet  and    initials,   may  still   be 
seen  identifying  some  of  them,  although,  horrible  to 
relate,  many  of  these  badges  have  been  removed  by 
tourist  visitors  to  the  glen. 

Landseer's  well-known  pictures  of  "  Waiting  for  the 
Deer  to  Rise"  and  "Stealing  a  March"  are  both 
scenes  in  Glenfeshie,  and  the  former  contains  the 
three  portraits  of  Captain  Horatio  Ross,  Charles 
Mackintosh,  the  stalker,  and  a  then  well-known 
character  in  Badenoch,  one  Malcolm  Clark,  commonly 
called  Callum  Brocair — "Malcolm  the  Fox-hunter" — 
who  is  drawn  holding  the  nose  of  a  deerhound. 

The  following  story  of  this  man's  great   strength 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  167 


is  Still  often  spoken  of  in  the  district  : — Captain  Ross 
and  Clark  had  followed  a  herd  of  deer  on  to  Cairn 
Toul,  where  they  put  them  into  a  precipitous  hollow 
above  Lochan  Uaine,  from  which  they  could  only  make 
good  their  escape  by  ascending  the  steep  face  very 
slowly.  As  the  stags  came  into  shot,  they  fell  one  by 
one,  until  five  had  bitten  the  dust,  when  the  firing  was 
brought  to  a  standstill,  because,  in  the  heat  and  hurry 
of  loading,  a  bullet  was  rammed  down  the  rifle  barrel 
before  the  powder  had  been  put  in.  On  examining 
the  slain.  Captain  Ross  was  so  pleased  with  one  of 
them  that  he  turned  to  Clark,  saying,  "  I  would 
give  twenty  pounds  to  see  this  stag  taken  home 
whole."  Clark  replied  that  it  should  not  cost  the 
Captain  that  sum,  so,  bending  down,  with  the  help 
of  his  master  the  big  stag  was  hoisted  on  to  his 
shoulders,  which  he  then  carried  to  such  a  place  as  a 
pony  could  come  to,  when  the  stag  was  put  in  the 
saddle,  eventually  to  be  laid  out  later  in  the  presence 
of  the  Duchess  of  Bedford,  on  the  green  in  front 
of  the  Doune  House,  at  Rothiemurcus.       This  deer 


i68  THE    DEER    FORESIS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

scaled  i8  stone,  and  the  other  four  were  all  brought 
to  the  pony  in  halves ! 

FOREST     OF     GLENGARRY. 

This  nice  forest  of  17,730  acres  is  the  property 
of  Mrs.  Ellice,  whose  husband,  for  over  forty  years 
the  well-known  member  for  the  St.  Andrew's  Burghs, 
purchased  it  from  the  late  Lord  Dudley,  in  1862,  for 
;^  1 20,000,  the  then  Lord  Ward  having  previously 
purchased  it  from  the  Marquis  of  Huntly  for  ;^9 1,000, 
the  Marquis  being  the  first  "stranger"  owner  of 
the  estate  after  Macdonnell  of  Glengarry  was  forced 
to  part  with  his  hereditary  property.  It  was  afforested 
in  1866,  and  the  whole  ground  is  admirably  suited 
to  deer.  Much  of  it  is  high  rocky  heights, 
Coire  Ghlais  and  Ben  Tee  each  being  3,000  feet,  while 
large  quantities  of  sheltering  woods  run  along  the 
shores  of  Lochs  Lochy  and  Garry,  out  of  which 
latter  lake  flows  the  Garry,  so  famed  for  its  early 
spring  salmon  fishing,  which  is  perhaps  the  best  in 
Scotland.     Loch  Garry  also  bounds  this  forest  on  the 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  169 

north,  while  Loch  Lochy  is  another  water  march  on 
the  east,  the  sheep-ground  of  Lochiel  surrounding  it 
on  south  and  west.  There  is  a  small  sanctuary  rising 
from  the  shore  of  Loch  Lochy,  which  is  taken  good 
care  of  by  John  McLennan,  the  head  forester.  The 
best-coloured  cloth  is  the  Ellice  plaid,  a  black  and 
white  check  with  large  red  squares  running  through 
the  web.  The  ground  carries  two  rifles  comfortably, 
and  though,  when  it  is  found  necessary  to  push  the 
stags  out  of  the  dense  woods  on  the  edges  of  the 
forest,  an  occasional  drive  is  perforce  resorted  to, 
the  bulk  of  the  deer  are  killed  by  stalking.  The 
usual  kill  is  forty-five  stags,  averaging  14  stone, 
clean. 

When  Mr.  Ellice  purchased  this  property  he  built 
a  good  house  on  Loch  Oich,  which  Mrs.  Ellice  retains 
in  her  own  hands,  together  with  the  forest,  and  keeps 
up  all  the  many  hospitable  kind  usages  of  her  late 
husband.  From  Invergarry  House  the  forest  is 
easily  accessible,  as  carriage  roads  and  pony  tracks 
have  been  laid  out  for  this  special  purpose.     On  the 

z 


I70  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

shores  of  the  north  end  of  Loch  Lochy  was  fought, 
in  1544,  the  celebrated  battle   of   Blar-nan-leine,   or 
"The  Field  of  Shirts,"  in  which    Lord    Lovat    and 
his  eldest  son,  together  with  three  hundred  Frasers, 
were   routed    and   slain    by   the    Clanronald.       That 
day,    the    3rd    of    July,    being    unusually    hot,    both 
sides    stripped    to    their    shirts    before    commencing 
the   fray,  in   which  five    hundred    of  the   Clanronald 
men  were  faced  by  but  three  hundred  of  the  Frasers, 
tradition  relating  that  only  four  of  the  Frasers  with  ten 
of  the  Clanronald  survived  the  contest,  while  had  it 
not  been  that  later  on  eighty  of  the  wives  of  eighty 
of  the  slain  men  presented  eighty  fatherless  sons  to 
the  clan  Fraser,  there  would  have  been  great  danger 
of  the  total  annihilation  of  this  old  sept. 

FOREST    OF    GLENMORE    BY   AVIEMORE. 

This  nice  forest,  formed  in  1859,  and  covering 
some  15,000  acres,  is  the  property  of  the  Duke  of 
Richmond  and  Gordon,  by  whom  it  is  at  present  let 
to  the  Earl  of  Zetland.     On  three  sides  it  joins  other 


INVERNESS-SHIRE. 


171 


forests,  while  on  the  fourth  the  deer  are  fenced  off  the 
low-lying  lands  ;  it  touches   Abernethy  on   the  north, 
Rothiemurcus    on    the    south,   and   Glenavon    on    the 
west.     There  is  a  sanctuary  of  some  2,000  acres,  with 
about  an  equal  portion  of  very  old  fir  wood,  in  which 
not    only    the    stags    of    Glenmore,    but    also    large 
numbers    from     the     surrounding    forests,     pass    the 
winter.      In  the  centre  of  the  wood  lies  Loch  Mor- 
lich,   on  the    bank  of    which  stands  a  very  large  fir 
tree,  for   many  years  used  as  a  nesting-place  by  the 
ospreys.      Their  last  appearance  was  in  1893,  when, 
in  spite  of  all  precautions,    they  appear  to  have  been 
wantonly  disturbed,    and   since   then    they    have   not 
again  visited  Loch  Morlich.     Most  of  the  ground  is 
very  high  and  wild,  as  may  well  be  supposed,  when 
the    highest   hill    is    the   well-known    Cairn-gorm,    of 
4,084  ft.     The  ground  carries  two  rifles,  and  should 
yield    50   stags   each   season,  but    of  late   years   this 
number    has    not   been   obtained,    only   because    the 
ground  has  been  lightly  shot  and  not  from  any  scarcity 
of  deer,  for  the  present  lessee,  the  Earl  of  Zetland,  is 


172  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

as  much  devoted  to  fishing  as  to  all  other  sport,  as 
is  witnessed  this  autumn  of  '95  by  his  capture  of  a 
54  lb.  salmon  from  the  Tay  early  in  October — a  time 
which  is  just  the  very  best  for  the  hill.  Fifty-four- 
pounders  are,  however,  extremely  rare,  and  there  are 
but  few  deerstalkers  who  are  also  anglers  who  would 
not  prefer  to  kill  a  monster  to  the  rod  in  preference 
to  "a  real  big  one"  with  the  rifle. 

Tradition  says  that  the  forest  of  Glenmore  is 
haunted  by  a  fairy  knight  known  as  Lhamdearg, 
or  "  Red  Hand,"  but,  as  his  last  authenticated 
appearance  was  in    1669,   it  is  more  than  likely  that 

something  has  happed  to  the  knight,  or  that  the 
whiskey  of  the  district  is  less  potent,  and  belated 
stalkers  can  return  home  in  the  dark  fearlessly. 

FOREST    OF    GLENQUOICH    BY    INVERGARRY. 

Like  Glengarry,  this  famous  forest,  of  46,347 
acres,  also  belongs  to  Mrs.  Ellice.  The  two 
estates  are  contiguous,  the  whole  at  one  time 
forming  the  ancient  possessions  of  the   Macdonnells 


LWERNESS-SHIRE.  173 

of  Glengarry.  For  the  past  twenty-five  years 
this  forest  has  been  rented  by  Lord  Burton,  and  at 
his  hands  it  has  had  careful  nursing,  with  all  the 
benefits  and  advantages  of  large  outlays  in  numerous 
improvements,  for  even  in  the  single  matter  of  roads 
alone  upwards  of  a  hundred  and  thirty  miles  of 
carriage  drives  and  pony  tracks  have  been  made,  by 
which  means  the  lodge  on  the  shore  of  Loch  Quoich 
has  been  placed  in  communication  with  all  parts  of  the 
deer  ground.  The  bulk  of  the  lands  of  Glenquoich  are 
very  high  and  extremely  steep,  the  bases  of  the  hills 
being  well  covered  with  rich  pastures.  The  very 
highest  ground  is  reached  on  the  summit  of  Glourvach 
(3,396  ft.)  at  the  back  of  the  lodge,  while  there 
are  upwards  of  a  dozen  other  hills  over  3,000  ft. 

Glenquoich  marches  on  the  west  with  the  deer 
grounds  of  Loch  Hourn,  while  on  the  north-west  and 
north  it  runs  with  Clunie  Forest,  Glengarry  comes  in 
on  the  east,  and  Glen  Kingie  on  the  south.  This 
last-mentioned  property,  of  nearly  16,000  acres,  belongs 
to   Lochiel,  being  quite  a  good  forest  in  itself;   Lord 


174  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

Burton  rents  it  to  join  it  on  to  Glenquoich,  and  it 
was  on  these  lands  that  he  killed  the  famous  twenty- 
pointer  of  1893.  At  the  back  of  Glenquoich  Lodge 
is  a  sanctuary  of  several  thousand  acres,  together  with 
a  few  hundred  acres  of  plantations,  while  in  sheltered 
situations  in  other  parts  of  the  forest  are  numerous 
detached  woods  of  natural  birch.  The  greater  part 
of  these  lands  have  been  frequented  by  deer  from  time 
immemorial,  but  until  about  fifty  years  ago  Eastern 
Glenquoich  was  not  actually  cleared,  while  later  on  in 
1878  the  western  portion  followed. 

James  Henderson  fills  the  place  of  head  forester  to 
the  satisfaction  of  all,  while  stalkers  and  gillies  are 
uniformly  clad  in  a  neat  brownish  check,  which 
experience  has  proved  to  be  the  most  suitable  for  the 
ground.  Three  rifles,  who  are  expected  to  kill  all 
deer  by  fair  stalking,  can  take  the  hill  daily,  and  though 
no  limit  as  to  number  is  imposed  on  Lord  Burton,  and 
though  more  deer  could  doubtlessly  be  got,  he  contents 
himself  with  a  modest  annual  kill  of  one  hundred  good 
beasts,  which  for  many  years  past  have  maintained  the 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  175 

fine  average  weight  of  1 5  stone  clean.    On  the  walls  of 
Glenquoich  is  displayed  as  fine  a  collection  of  modern 
horns   as  can  be   seen  in  all  Scotland,  some  distin- 
guished for  their  great  span,  others  for  their  uncommon 
massiveness,  and  again  there  are  those  with  exception- 
ally   long    and   graceful   points.      Here   hang   royals 
in  plenty,   a  fair  lot  of  fourteen-pointers,    a   few   of 
sixteen,  and  one — the  king  of  the  whole  collection — 
has   twenty  tines.     This    last-mentioned   head    Lord 
Burton  laid  low  in  1893,  ii^  ^  somewhat  curious  way. 
Early  in  that   season,  and  before  stalking  had  fully 
commenced,  he  and  a  party  were  crossing  the  hills 
from  Glenquoich  to  Loch  Nevis,  when  coming  suddenly 
on  a  company  of  stags,   and  seeing  that   there  was 
no  way   of  getting  round   them,   or  of  approaching 
nearer  without  abandoning  the  trip  to  Loch   Nevis, 
Lord  Burton,  who  had  his  rifle  with  him,  determined 
to  try  a  long  shot  at  fully  three  hundred  yards,  and 
dropped  the  stag  dead,  whereupon  a  gillie  was  sent 
off  to  do  the  gralloch,  while  the  party  resuming  their 
route,  it  was  not  till  he  arrived  home  that  Lord  Burton 


176  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

knew  he  had  got  a  head  the  like  of  which  has,  perhaps, 
never  before  been  seen  in  Scotland.  The  Honble. 
Nellie  Bass  and  Mr.  Baillie  of  Dochfour  were  both 
witnesses  of  this  good  shot,  and  when  they  were 
married,  the  people  of  Glenquoich  and  Glengarry  gave 
them  as  an  appropriate  wedding  present  the  head  and 
figure  of  the  great  stag  most  correctly  modelled 
in  silver. 

When  the  Macdonnells  owned  this  fine  tract  of 
wild  country  for  over  two  hundred  years,  it  was  the 
scene  of  incessant  bloodshed  and  strife  ;  for  the  Clan 
Ranald  and  the  Clan  Mackenzie  of  Kintail  were  ever 
at  loggerheads,  and  neither  appears  to  have  had 
sufficient  preponderating  force  to  deal  to  the  other 
a  death-blow.  That  the  Macdonnells  were  entitled  to 
be  proud  of  their  sept  is  quite  certain,  for,  after  the 
Campbells,  they  were  the  most  numerous  and  powerful 
of  all  the  others,  and  so  greatly  was  this  fact  impressed 
on  one  ancient  chieftain  of  Glengarry,  that  on  an 
occasion  when  he  unexpectedly  arrived  at  a  feast 
given  by  a  neighbour,  apologies  were  made  to  him 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  177 

that  he  had  not  been  placed  at  the  head  of  the 
table,  and  to  these  his  answer  was,  "No  matter — 
wherever  Glengarry  sits,  that  is  the  head  of  the 
table."  An  assertion  of  "  I  am  cock  of  the  walk," 
which  was  allowed  to  pass  unchallenged. 

From  time  immemorial  the  Macdonnells  were  a 
hunting  and  a  fighting  race.  They  joined  Montrose, 
and  were  "out"  in  1715  and  1745.  The  last  of 
the  clan  who  ruled  at  Glengarry  was  Col.  Alexander 
Macdonnell,  who  adhered  strictly  to  the  dress  and 
mode  of  living  of  his  ancestors  ;  he  was  a  typical 
Highland  chief,  and  as  Fergus  Maclvor  he  figures  in 
"  Waverley."  His  son,  finding  his  estate  hopelessly 
encumbered,  sold  it  to  the  Marquis  of  Huntly,  and 
he  and  his  family,  together  with  a  large  number 
of  the  clan,  emigrated  to  Australia. 

FOREST     OF    GUISACHAN. 

This  forest,  which  is  about  twenty-two  miles  from 
Beauly,  covers  some  16,000  acres,  and  belongs  to 
Lord  Tweedmouth.     It  disputes  with  Glen  Urquhart 

2   A 


178  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

and  Assynt  for  the  honour  of  the  death  of  the  last 
wolf  destroyed  in  Scotland,  which  was  in  1743.  Of 
the  kill  of  stags  or  their  weights  I  have  been  unable 
to  obtain  authentic  information ;  but  as  a  further 
instance  of  how  stags  ramble  and  roam,  it  can  be 
stated  that  Lord  Tweedmouth  shot  a  stag  in  this 
forest  the  morning  after  it  had  been  stalked  at 
Beauly,  a  distance  of  fully  twenty-two  miles  as  the 
crow  flies. 

FOREST     OF      INCHNACARDOCH      AND      PORTCLAIR 
BY    FORT    AUGUSTUS. 

This  is  a  very  easily-walked  forest  of  Lord  Lovat's, 
formed  in  1870,  and  now  let  to  Col.  Charlesworth. 
It  covers  about  15,000  acres  of  rolling  slopes,  some- 
what like  exaggerated  Sussex  downs,  the  highest 
ground  being  1,800  feet.  It  is  bounded  on  the 
south  by  Loch  Ness,  whose  wooded  shores  give 
splendid  wintering ;  on  north  and  east  it  marches 
with  Glenmoriston,  while  Inverwick  (also  called 
Dundreggan)   meets   it    on   the   west.      Th^   kill    is 


INVERNESS-SHTRE.  179 

limited     to    forty-five    stags,    which    average    about 
14  stone  8  lbs.,  clean. 

FOREST     OF     INVERESHIE,     OR     SOUTH     KINRARA,     OR 
INCHRIACH,     BY    KINGUSSIE. 

Tins  small  forest,  rented,  together  with  the  grouse 
and  low  ground  shootings,  by  Mr.  Heywood  Lonsdale, 
belongs  partly  to  The  Mackintosh  and  partly  to  Sir 
George  Macpherson  Grant  of  Ballindalloch,  and 
unless  the  two  grounds  go  together — when  united 
they  make  some  9,000  acres — neither  would  be 
of  much  use  as  deer  forest,  although  when  joined, 
as  they  are  at  present,  they  yield  an  average  kill 
of  twenty-five  stags  a  season,  with  a  mean  weight 
of  14  stone,  clean.  Invereshie  marches  with  the 
forest  of  Glenfeshie  on  the  south,  and  with  that 
of  Rothiemurcus  on  the  east  and  north-east  ;  there 
is  no  sanctuary,  but  abundance  of  old  natural  wood 
and  thick  juniper  for  wintering.  The  hills  are  high, 
somewhat  peaked,  and  with  stony  tops.  Sgorr-an- 
dubh,   the  "black   peak,"   is   3,635  feet,  and   Sgorr 


i8o  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

Gavith,  the  "windy  peak,"  is  3,358  feet.  The  cloth 
called  Glenfeshie  mixture,  already  described,  is  chielly 
used,  and  suits  the  ground  exactly,  which  will  carry 
one  rille  comfortably.  The  first  tenants  of  Invershie 
were  Mr.  Farquharson  of  Finzean  and  Mr.  Barclay 
of  Urie,  the  former  gentleman  once  killing  with  one 
dog  and  a  flint  gun  seventy-five  brace  of  grouse  in 
the  day ! 


FOREST     OF     INVERMORISTON     BY     GLENMORISTON. 

This  ground,  of  10,700  acres  of  good  stalking, 
belongs  to  Mr.  J.  M.  Grant  of  Glenmoriston. 
Glen-mhor-essan,  "  the  glen  of  the  great  falls," 
has  been  cleared  for  many  years,  carries  two 
rifles,  and  is  at  present  rented  by  Captam  A. 
H.  O.  Dunnistane,  and  to  him  and  his  friends  it 
gives  from  twenty-five  to  thirty  stags  each  season, 
which  work  out,  taking  one  with  the  other,  just 
under  15  stone,  but  how  weighed  I  have  not  been 
able  to  ascertain.     As  a  rule,  several  royals  are  got 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  l8i 


each  year,  and  the  walls  of  Invermoriston  House 
show  heads  running  up  to  seventeen  points. 

It  was  mainly  owing  to  the  true  aim  of  a  Glen- 
moriston  man  that  the  Highlanders  charged  with 
such  confident  fury  at  Killiecrankie  ;  for  just  before 
the  battle  began  Lochiel,  who  was  supposed  to  have 
the  gift  of  foretelling  events,  was  questioned  as  to  what 
he  thought  of  their  chances.  "  That  side  will  win 
who  first  spills  blood,"  answered  he  ;  and  on  hearing 
that  prophecy  Iain  a  Chragain  turned  to  a  noted 
Glenmoriston  deerstalker,  shouting  to  him,  "  Do 
you  hear  that  ?  Do  you  hear  that  ?  "  while  pointing 
out  an  officer  of  General  Mackay's,  who,  mounted 
on  a  white  horse,  had  rashly  galloped  out  of  his 
lines  to  survey  the  scene  of  the  forthcoming  battle. 
The  stalker  instantly  firing,  the  gentleman  fell 
from  his  horse  shot  through  the  heart,  while  on 
seeing  this  happy  omen  the  hillmen  with  exulting 
shouts  rushed  to  the  fray. 

There  have  always  been  deer  in  Invermoriston, 
as   is  proved  by  the  name  of  the  mountain   stretch 


i82  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

lying  between  Affaric  and  Corrie  Dho  in  Glen- 
moriston,  which  for  centuries  has  been  called  "  Tigh- 
Mor-no-Seilg,"  "  the  great  house  of  the  hunting." 
In  1746  Glenmoriston  House,  with  every  cottage 
near  by,  was  destroyed  by  the  Duke  of  Cumberland's 
orders,  a  proceeding  which  forced  the  numerous 
Highlanders  of  those  parts  to  seek  safety  on  the 
hill-sides.  Amongst  these  was  Patrick  Grant,  together 
with  three  of  the  Chisholms,  two  of  the  Macdonalds, 
and  a  Macgregor.  These  "  seven  men  of  Glen- 
moriston "  fled  to  the  hills,  binding  themselves 
together  by  a  solemn  oath  never  to  yield  to  the 
English,  but  to  stand  by  each  other  to  the  last 
drop  of  their  blood.  They  were  all  strong,  active 
men,  and  making  their  home  in  the  Cave  of 
Uamh  Ruaraidh  na  Seilg,  "  the  Cave  of  Roderick 
the  Hunter,"  in  Corrie-Sgrainge,  they  commenced 
to  lead  a  life  of  adventure,  losing  no  chance 
of  harming  any  small  parties  of  soldiers  or  Whig 
Highlanders.  They  pillaged  convoys,  shooting  the 
guards,     and    in     carrying    off    the    proceeds    they 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  183 

murdered  one  Robert  Grant,  a  Strathspey  man, 
whose  head  they  fixed  on  a  tree  close  to  the  high  road 
at  Blairie,  where  it  stayed  until  well  on  in  the 
present  century.  When  Prince  Charles  Edward 
escaped  from  the  Western  Isles,  to  commence 
his  wanderings  on  the  mainland,  he  was  forced  to 
seek  shelter  in  Glenmoriston,  and  had  to  place 
himself  in  the  hands  of  these  seven  men,  who 
entertained  him  to  the  best  of  their  ability,  and  after 
binding  themselves  by  a  great  oath  to  stand  by 
the  Prince  until  he  was  out  of  danger,  asked  that 
"  their  backs  might  be  to  God  and  their  faces  to 
the  Devil  "  if  they  did  discover  to  man,  woman  or 
child  that  the  Prince  was  in  their  keeping.  This 
oath  they  observed  so  well  that  not  until  a  whole 
year  after  the  escape  of  Charles  to  France  was 
it  so  much  as  known  he  had  been  amongst  them. 

FOREST    OF    KINVEACHV    BY    BOAT    OF    GARTEN. 

This  is  one  of  the  Countess  Dowager  of  Seafield's 
properties,  at    present    let   to    Sir    Spencer   Mary  on 


184  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

Wilson,  being  entirely  surrounded  by  the  grouse  moors 
and  sheep  grounds  of  the  Duke  of  Richmond.  It  was 
first  cleared  in  1875,  the  highest  point  of  the  11,000 
acres  of  which  it  consists  being  reached  at  the 
summit  of  Carn-sleam-huinn,  2217  feet,  while  of  the 
total  area  no  less  than  one-third  is  thick  wood, 
offering  a  vast  dense  shelter  to  the  deer.  Two 
rifles  can  go  out,  who  should  kill  twenty  stags  a 
season,  which  will  average  14  stone,  with  heart 
and  liver  included.  In  the  season  of  1891  the 
present  tenant  had  the  good  fortune  to  secure  one 
of  the  best  beasts  shot  in  Kinveachy  in  recent  years, 
a  heavy  stag  with  fourteen  good  points. 

FOREST  OF  KNOYDART  BY  ISLE  ORNSAY. 

This  estate  is  of  surpassing  wildness  and  beauty, 
being  full  of  steep,  narrow  glens,  with  high  hills 
peaked,  jagged,  and  fantastic  in  outline,  with  their 
tops  nearly  sterile.  Sgur-na-liche  is  the  highest 
ground  and  rises  to  3,610  feet,  but  there  are 
five    more    hills    of    over    3,000    feet,    and    twenty- 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  185 


one    that  exceed   2,000   feet,    while   as   a   good    part 
of  this  ground  is  sea-girt,  with  the  hills  close  to  and 
rising  abruptly    from    the   salt   water,    it   can   easily 
be  imagined  the  walking  is  severe,   while  even  the 
most    "hardy    brogues"    soon    wear    out    during    a 
month's  stalking  here.     At  one  time,   for  more  than 
two  centuries,    Knoydart   was   the   property    of    the 
Macdonnells    of    Glengarry ;    the    late    Mr.    James 
Baird  bought  it  in   1857,  and  was  succeeded  by  his 
nephew,  Mr.  John  Baird,  in   1876,  with  whom  it  was 
once  my  good   fortune  to  stay  at  Inverie   House  to 
stalk  over  these  romantic  hills.     In   1893   my  friend 
sold  Knoydart  to  Mr.  E.  S.  Bowlby,  of  Gilston  Park, 
Hertfordshire,    and   each    of  these    three    proprietors 
spent  largely  on  the  place.     There  are  some  50,000 
acres  under  deer,   with   a   fine  house  at   Inverie,    on 
Loch    Nevis,   and   a   good   lodge    at    Barrisdale,    but 
it  is  from  Inverie  House  that  the  bulk  of  the  stalking 
is   done.     The    present  owner   limits  his  kill  to  one 
hundred   stags,    which   average    15    stone   clean,   but 
in  the  season  of  1894  he  contented  himself  with  just 


2   B 


1 86  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

over  half  this  number,  as  the  severe  winter  destroyed 
many  good  beasts,  no  less  than  thirty-eight  having 
been  found  dead,  and  of  course  all  the  carcases 
were  not  discovered ;  of  these  fifty  stags  shot  in  '94, 
five  were  royals,  nine  had  eleven  points,  and  twenty- 
one  had  ten.  Knoydart  marches  on  the  land  side 
with  Glenquoich  and  North  Morar,  having,  in  addi- 
tion to  a  small  sanctuary,  some  useful  woods  for 
wintering.  From  the  earliest  days  of  the  Mac- 
donnells  Knoydart  has  seen  a  great  deal  of  clan 
warfare.  In  1643  Alexander  Macdonald,  (the  cele- 
brated Colkitto  of  John  Milton),  a  Highland  relation 
of  the  Earl  of  Antrim,  landed  in  Knoydart  with 
a  force  of  Irish  for  the  assistance  of  Montrose, 
and  joining  him,  they  shared  in  all  his  victories  and 
formed  part  of  his  troops  when  the  Marquis  made 
that  remarkable  forced  march  over  the  snow-clad 
hills  between  Fort  Augustus  and  Ben  Nevis,  which 
the  day  following  led  to  the  surprise  and  nearly 
total  annihilation  of  Argyll's  army  at  Inverlochy. 
The  last  bloodshed  that  took  place  in  Knoydart  was 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  187 

in  1745,  when  an  officer  of  the  King's  forces,  in 
command  of  a  detachment  of  soldiers  pursuing  the 
fugitives  from  Culloden,  sought  shelter  from  the  fury 
of  a  storm  in  a  lonely  hut  in  Knoydart.  Only  the 
woman  of  the  house  and  her  infant  were  at  home, 
and  the  child  beginning  to  cry,  the  officer  exclaimed, 
"Curse  that  child!  If  it  lives  it  will  only  grow  up 
to  be  a  rebel  like  its  father;"  on  hearing  this,  the 
sergeant  of  the  party  at  once  passed  his  sword  through 
the  child,  the  distracted  mother  being  a  witness  of 
the  brutal  deed.  When  the  storm  subsided  the 
soldiers  departed,  with  their  officer  mounted  on  a 
white  horse,  but  he,  fearing  pursuit  and  vengeance 
from  the  father  of  the  murdered  child,  shortly 
after  starting  dismounted  and  proceeded  on  foot, 
in  the  meanwhile  placing  on  his  own  horse  a  prisoner 
he  was  taking  to  Fort  William.  That  which  this 
gallant  officer  feared  shortly  happened,  for  the  out- 
raged father,  who  had  fled  to  the  hills  at  the 
approach  of  the  soldiers,  returned  home  as  soon 
as   they  had   departed,    and    vowing   vengeance,    he 


i88  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

pursued  them  until  he  headed  the  detachment,  when, 
as  they  came  up  to  him,  he  at  once  shot  the  rider 
of  the  white  horse  dead.  He  saw  his  mistake  too 
late,  but  escaping  scot-free,  he  again  came  up  with 
his  persecutors,  when  the  officer,  thinking  that  all 
was  safe,  having  resumed  his  horse,  also  paid  the 
penalty  of  his  cruelty,  and  the  injured  father  once 
more  escaped. 

In  the  time  of  the  Armada  one  of  the  Spanish 
ships  was  wrecked  on  the  Knoydart  shores,  and  to 
this  day  there  are  a  race  of  Catholics  settled  there, 
who  show  all  those  well-marked  peculiarities  of 
feature  which  belong  to  the  Spanish  race. 

FOREST    OF    MACDONALD,    OR    SCONSER,    BROADFORD. 

This  is  an  ancient  forest  of  nearly  10,000  acres, 
belonging  to  Lord  Macdonald,  and  at  present  let 
to  Mr.  A.  H.  Sharp,  in  whose  rental  is  included 
the  wages  of  four  keepers,  all  rates  and  taxes,  and 
the  up-keep  of  the  lodge.  It  is  mostly  rough,  bare, 
black,  moorland  ground,  cut  up  by  precipitously  rocky 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  189 

hills,  of  which  the  highest  is  2,600  ft.      It  is  bounded 
on    the    north    by    Loch    Sligachan,   on    the   east   by 
the    Sound    of    Raasay   and     Loch    Ainort,    and    on 
the  west  by  Macleod  of   Macleod's  ground  of   Glen 
Drynoch.     There   are   no  crofters   on  this   property, 
but    the  tourists   are  very  troublesome,   keeping  the 
deer   constantly    on    the   move,    and    spoiling    many 
stalks,    so    much    so    that    the    average    kill    is    but 
twelve  stags  a  season.      Deer  are  said  to  swim  to 
and  from  the  Island  of  Skye  to  the  mainland  across 
Loch  Alsh,  and  also  even  to  come  from  Applecross 
in    Ross-shire,    swimming  first   to    Raasay  and  from 
thence  to  Skye.     This  property  has  been  in  the  hands 
of  the  Macdonalds  of  Sleat  for  several  centuries,  and 
although  there  have  been  other  claimants  to  the  proud 
title  of  "  Macdonald  of  the  Isles,"  the  honour  rests  at 
this  day  with  the  present  owner  of  Sconser.     From 
towards   the   end   of  the   year   1590  numerous  were 
the   clan   warfares   these    Macdonalds    took   part   in, 
especially   with    the    Macleans   of    Dowart,    and    in 
1 591    each   of    these   chieftains   was    condemned    to 


igo  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 


pay  a  fine  of  ;^4,ooo  to  the  king,  as  a  pledge  that 
they  would  keep  the  peace,  but  the  penalties  were 
shortly  forgotten,  and  a  year  later  the  Macdonalds 
and  their  neighbours,  the  Macleods,  fought  a  desperate 
battle  on  the  hill  of  Benquillin,  when  the  latter  clan 
was  nearly  cut  to  pieces.  The  Macdonalds  joined 
Montrose,  and  were  "out"  in  both  1715  and  1745; 
and  the  then  chief  was  the  first  to  commence  the 
battle  of  Sherrifmuir ;  they  likewise  did  much  to 
protect  and  shelter  Prince  Charlie,  when  he  arrived 
at  Mugstot,  in  the  north  of  Skye,  the  residence 
of  Sir  Alexander  Macdonald,  after  a  perilous  voyage 
from  Benbecula,  disguised  as  Betty  Burke,  the  Irish 
maid-servant  of  the  celebrated  Flora  Macdonald. 

FOREST    OF    MAMORE,    OR    KINLOCHMORE,    BY    ONICH, 

A  FOREST  celebrated  for  the  size  of  the  horns  and 
weight  of  its  deer,  belonging  to  Mrs.  Cameron 
Campbell  of  Monzie,  by  whom  it  is  let  to  Sir 
Charles  Mordaunt,  the  previous  tenant  for  many 
years    having    been    the    late    Mr.    A.    F.    Thistle- 


JNVERNESS-SHIRE.  191 

thwaite,  who  enclosed  the  forest  with  wire.  Though 
there  have  always  been  deer  on  this  ground, 
it  was  only  in  1852  that  it  was  afforested.  It 
spreads  over  35,000  acres  of  high,  stony  hills  and 
grassy  corries ;  the  two  highest  points  being  Beinnein 
Mhor,  the  "big  peak,"  3,700  ft.,  and  A  Ghruagach, 
"the  maiden,"  3,442  ft.  There  is  a  sanctuary  of 
about  4,000  acres,  and  good  woods  on  the  sea-shore 
of  Loch  Leven,  and  hence  the  deer,  having  the 
protection  of  this  low-lying  cover,  rarely  suffer  much 
even  in  the  most  severe  winters.  Up  to  the  time 
of  his  death,  the  late  Col.  Campbell  of  Monzie 
kept  the  forest  in  his  own  hands,  and  many  were 
the  fine  beasts  he  got,  for  he  was  a  good  and  keen 
stalker,  while  probably  no  man,  gentle  or  simple,  had 
a  better  knowledge  of  deer  than  he  had. 

Here  in  the  autumn  of  1862  a  somewhat  curious 
and  laughable  adventure  was  witnessed  by  the 
Colonel,  who,  having  wounded  a  good  stag  near 
the  top  of  Corrie  Gail,  bade  Jamie  Macpherson  slip 
the   deerhound.     The   stricken  beast  made   its  way 


192  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

to  the  foot  of  the  corrie,  and  plunged  into  a  large 
deep  pool  of  the  river  Nevis.  It  happened  that 
the  Achreach  forester  was  about  at  the  time,  and 
seeing  what  was  likely  to  happen,  he  raced  down 
to  his  side  of  the  pool,  while  Jamie  being  on  the 
other  side  with  the  baying  hound,  the  stag  swam 
round  and  round,  till,  on  nearing  Jamie's  bank,  he 
at  once  jumped  plump  astride  the  animal,  "  Just 
like  the  rash  little  man  he  was,"  as  Mrs.  Campbell 
is  well  warranted  in  saying.  Jamie  was  then  carried 
about  till  he  managed  to  open  his  knife  with  his 
teeth,  and  forgetting  that  he  could  not  swim,  in 
sticking  the  stag  he  scuttled  his  own  ship,  and 
would  assuredly  have  been  drowned  had  not  the 
other  man,  by  dashing  into  the  water  as  far  as  he 
could  venture,  just  managed  to  reach  Jamie  with 
his  stick  as  he  was  sinking.  The  river  Nevis  was, 
however,  eventually  fatal  to  the  poor  fellow  ;  for  a 
little  time  after  this  adventure,  and  purely  to 
save  himself  a  short  walk  to  a  bridge,  he  lost 
his    life   when    attempting    to    jump    from    stone    to 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  193 


Stone   at   a  bad  place  when  the   river  was    in    high 
flood. 

Mamore  marches  with  the  forests  of  Corrour, 
Inverlochy  and  Black  Corries,  but  unless  the  fence  put 
up  by  Mr.  Thistlethwaite  has  been  partially  removed, 
these  adjacent  forests  can  be  of  no  use  to  Mamore 
as  far  as  interchange  of  blood  goes.  The  present 
tenant  is  limited  to  seventy  stags,  the  bulk  of  which 
are  got  by  stalking  by  two  rifles,  and  give  a  mean 
weight  of  15  stone  6  lbs.  clean,  while  in  good  seasons 
the  average  runs  as  high  as  16  stone. 

In  connection  with  the  owner  of  Mamore  and 
Meoble  forests  I  must  not  omit  to  mention  that 
Mrs.  Campbell  has  been  spirited  enough  to  have 
translated  into  Gaelic  for  distribution  amongst  the 
Highlanders  a  pamphlet  on  the  deer  forests,  most 
ably  and  impartially  written  by  Mr.  Malcolm,  the 
well-known  and  popular  manager  of  Mrs.  Ellice's 
estates  of  Glengarry  and  Glenquoich,  and  to  him  my 
best  thanks  are  due  for  the  greater  part  of  my  informa- 
tion concerning  these  two  last-mentioned  forests. 

2  c 


194  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

In  the  above  description  of  Mamore  I  have  alluded 
to  Mrs.  Campbell  of  Monzie  as  the  owner  of  the 
forest  of  Meoble,  but  this  is  hardly  correct,  as  that 
part  of  her  estate  is  let  as  a  sheep  farm,  the  tenant 
clearing  a  portion  of  it  before  the  commencement  of 
the  stalking  season,  to  ensure  some  good  few  heavy 
stags  to  his  shooting  tenant. 

FOREST    OF    MORAR    BY    FORT    WILLIAM. 

This  estate,  afforested  between  1880  and  1885 
and  so  well-known  for  its  very  heavy  deer,  is  one  of 
the  Lovat  properties,  and  on  it  the  present  lord 
killed  his  first  stag.  It  covers  some  13,000  acres  of 
very  steep  rocky  ground,  the  highest  point  of  which 
is  Sgur-na-natt,  or  "  the  hat  hill,"  of  nearly  3,000 
feet ;  there  are  many  fine  grassy  corries,  and  the 
absence  of  any  wood  for  winter  shelter  is  in  a  great 
measure  compensated  for  by  a  small  sanctuary,  and 
the  fact  that  the  lower  grounds  of  the  forest  descend 
to  the  salt  water  shores  of  Loch  Nevis,  where  neither 
frost  nor  snow  ever  hold  long  sway.     On  the  east  and 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  195 

south-east  it  marches  with  Meoble,  on  the  north-east 
with  Lochiel  sheep  ground,  while  it  touches  Knoydart 
on  the  north.  The  kill  is  limited  to  thirty-five 
stags  a  season,  which  average  nearly  16  stone 
clean,  and  in  1893  the  present  tenant,  Mr.  F.  W.  Gill, 
of  Oswestry,  made  a  remarkable  bit  of  stalking  and 
good  shooting,  as  after  getting  up  to  a  company 
of  ten  big  stags  he  killed  eight  of  them,  which 
averaged  17  stone  7  lbs.  clean. 

Towards  the  end  of  the  fifteenth  century  this 
ground  of  Morar  witnessed  many  battles  and  single 
combats  between  the  members  of  the  Glengarry  clan 
and  that  of  the  Mackenzies  of  Kintail ;  and  later 
on,  in  1745,  after  Culloden,  Simon  Fraser,  Lord 
Lovat,  hid  himself  here  for  a  considerable  time  in  a 
hollow  tree.  It  was  also  in  Morar,  at  the  south  end 
of  Loch  Nevis,  where  the  present  estates  of  Knoydart 
and  Morar  join,  that  Prince  Charles  landed,  when 
making  his  escape  from  the  Isle  of  Skye,  and  so 
hot  was  the  pursuit  in  these  out-of-the-way  regions, 
that  he  was  forced  to  pass  three  nights  in  the  open 


196  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

air,  and  on  the  fourth,  having  placed  himself  under 
the  guidance  of  John  Mackinnon  of  Morar,  Charles 
had  a  most  narrow  escape  of  capture  whilst  being 
rowed  further  down  the  loch  to  a  place  of  greater 
security,  for,  coming  suddenly  round  a  corner  of 
rock,  they  found  themselves  in  the  presence  of  a  party 
of  militia  who  had  just  landed,  but  before  the  soldiers 
could  regain  their  boat,  such  a  good  start  was  got 
that  the  Pretender's  party  were  enabled  to  save 
themselves  by  running  ashore  at  a  spot  where  a 
dense  wood  came  down  to  the  water's  edge,  in  which 
they  made  a  successful  escape.  The  prince  then 
sought  shelter  with  Macdonald  of  Morar,  taking  the 
place  of  Mackinnon's  servant  on  the  journey.  On 
approaching  a  swollen  ford,  Mackinnon,  being  anxious 
to  keep  Charles  dry,  asked  their  guide  to  carry  "  this 
poor  sick  fellow  "  across,  a  request  which  was  angrily 
refused,  the  man  saying,  "  The  deil  be  on  the  back  he 
comes,  or  any  wretched  fellow  of  a  servant  like  him, 
but,  sir,  I  will  carry  you  over  with  pleasure ; "  to 
this  kind  offer  Mackinnon  replied,  "No,  by  no  means, 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  197 

SO  if  the  lad  must  needs  wade,  then  I  will  wade 
with  him  to  see  he  comes  to  no  harm,"  so  taking 
Charles  by  the  arm,  they  proceeded  to  ford  the 
swollen  waters.  On  reaching  Morar  House,  they 
found  Macdonald  living  in  a  hut,  his  own  mansion 
having  been  destroyed  by  the  king's  soldiers,  and 
Charles,  fancying  he  was  not  too  welcome,  continued 
his  journey  to  Borobol. 

FOREST    OF    ROTHIEMURCUS    BY   AVIEMORE. 

This  ancient  forest  is  one  of  the  few  of  which  I 
have  not  been  able  to  collect  any  reliable  information. 
It  is  owned  by  Mr.  Sheriff  Grant,  rented  by  Mr. 
Hargreaves  Brown,  and  covers  some  19,000  acres 
of  well-wooded,  fine-looking  deer  ground,  the  greater 
part  of  which  can  be  seen  from  the  Highland  rail- 
way, as  the  train  runs  from  Kincraig  to  Aviemore. 
It  was  near  the  old  castle  of  Rothiemurcus  that  the 
Marquis  of  Montrose  pitched  his  camp  when  pursued 
by  the  Duke  of  Argyll,  from  whence  he  made  a 
masterly  retreat  into  the  forest  of  Abernethy.     Rothie- 


198  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

murcus  is  still  famed  for  being  one  of  the  very  few 
places  where  the  nearly  extinct  osprey  yet  breeds, 
as  on  Loch-an-Eilean  they  continue  to  nest  on  a 
small  island  in  the  middle  of  a  lake ;  here  also,  in 
1526,  there  took  refuge  one  James  Malcolmson,  who 
had  murdered  his  kinsman,  Lauchlan  Mackintosh, 
"  a  verrie  honest  and  wise  gentleman;"  the  water- 
girt  shelter,  however,  was  of  no  avail,  for  during  a 
dark  night  Lauchlan's  friends  crossed  to  the  isle, 
surprised,  and  slew  the  assassin. 

FOREST  OF  STRUY  BY  BEAULY, 

This  is  another  of  Lord  Lovat's  forests,  of  about 
18,000  acres  of  big- featured  high  ground,  very  similar 
to  Braulen,  and  now  let  on  a  long  lease  to  Mr. 
Douglas  H.  Barry.  Cleared  in  1885,  it  is  wholly 
surrounded  by  other  deer  grounds,  for  it  marches 
with  Braulen  on  the  west,  Strathconan  on  the  north, 
Erchless  on  the  east,  and  Cannich  with  Fasnakyle 
on  the  south ;  there  is  no  absolute  sanctuary,  but 
the  hill  of  Cam  Ban,   2,410   feet,  is  kept   quiet   till 


Di 

O 

■X. 

cu 

a: 
■X. 

> 
< 


Q 


•        •  ,••• 


INVERNESS-SHIRE.  199 

late  in  the  season,  and  added  to  this,  on  each 
side  of  the  glen  there  is  some  six  miles  of  wood. 
It  carries  two  rifles,  but  takes  a  third  during  the 
last  few  days  of  the  first  fortnight  in  October.  The 
kill  is  limited  to  sixty  stags,  which  are  weighed 
with  heart  and  liver,  and  owing  to  careful  nursing, 
combined  with  good  management,  a  steadily  increasing 
gain  of  weight  is  being  established,  for  while  in 
Mr.  Barry's  first  year,  of  1892,  the  average  was  but 
13  stone  6  lbs.,  it  has  been  steadily  increased,  until 
in  1895  it  reached  14  stone  5  lbs.  ;  an  improvement 
which  the  lessee  is  hopeful  of  augmenting  for  several 
seasons  to  come.  On  the  9th  of  October,  1893, 
Mr.  Barry  had  the  good  fortune  to  secure  a  re- 
markable three-horned  stag,  of  whose  head  an 
illustration  is  given ;  his  curious  head  proved  his 
death-warrant,  for  he  was  much  run  when  shot, 
and  only  killed  for  the  sake  of  the  extraordinary 
horns,  each  one  having  a  distinct  coronet,  the  right 
horn  being  26  inches  in  length,  and  the  two  left 
ones    22    and  22 J  inches.       In   October,    1895,    Mr. 


200  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

Barry  also  had  the  luck  to  lay  low  the  heaviest  stag 
got  in  this  forest  for  very  many  years,  which  scaled 
20  stone  10  lbs. 

The  house  of  Struy — Gaelic,  Strui,  Streams — is 
built  near  the  junction  of  the  Farrar  with  the  Glass, 
and  close  to  it  is  the  ford  of  Ath-nan-ceann,  "the 
ford  of  the  heads,"  which  derives  its  name  from  a 
fight  which  took  place  there  about  two  hundred  years 
ago,  when  some  of  the  clan  Fraser  being  detected 
by  a  number  of  the  Chisholms  in  a  cattle-raiding 
expedition,  the  opposing  parties  actually  met  in  the 
water,  when  in  a  fierce  contest  the  Chisholms  were 
victorious,  although  next  day  so  many  heads  of  both 
victors  and  vanquished  were  found  in  the  ford  that 
hence  its  name. 


201 


Chapter    VIII. 
PERT  HSH  IRE. 

FOREST    OF    ATHOLL    BY    BLAIR    ATHOLL. 

I  CANNOT  but  feel  the  greatest  diffidence  in  dealing 
with  this  magnificent  tract  of  country,  for  it  has 
already  been  most  ably  and  elaborately  treated  of 
by  Mr.  Scrope  in  his  "  Days  of  Deerstalking." 

In  addition  to  the  splendid  sport  it  affords,  the 
estate  abounds  in  historical  recollections  mixed  up 
with  traditions  of  clanish  warfare  and  adventures,  on 
which  subjects  alone  a  whole  volume  could  easily  be 
written.  This  is  certainly  one  of  the  oldest,  if  not 
actually  the  most  ancient,  of  all  the  Scotch  forests,  for 
there  have  been  deer  and  Murrays  in  Atholl  from 
time  immemorial.  As  is  well  known.  Queen  Mary 
witnessed  a  great  hunting  in  Atholl  in    1563,  when, 

2   D 


202  THE   DEER   FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

in  addition  to  a  number  of  deer,  five  wolves  were 
included  in  the  spoils  of  the  day.  Mr.  Scrope  states 
that  in  his  time,  1838,  the  whole  property  extended 
to  135,451  imperial  acres,  of  which  51,000  acres  was 
forest,  the  rest  being  sheep  ground,  while  he  estimates 
the  total  head  of  deer  of  all  sorts  to  have  been 
between  five  and  six  thousand.  It  is  probable  that 
in  the  above-mentioned  estimates  there  is  included  the 
areas  and  deer  of  the  forests  of  Fealar  and  Glenbruar, 
both  of  which  being  now  let  to  tenants,  leaves  the 
Atholl  forest  of  to-day  to  extend  over  some  35,000 
acres  of  as  fine  deer  ground  as  could  be  desired,  of 
which  the  most  prominent  features  are  the  two  big 
hills  of  Ben  Derig  or  Dearg— "  The  Red  Hill  "— 
{l^lZ'^  ft.),  and  Ben-y-Gloe  (3,670  ft),  which  of  itself 
contains  no  less  than  twenty-four  separate  corries,  and 
even  as  in  Scrope's  day,  it  is  still  supposed  to  be  the 
abode  of  a  witch  who,  feeding  on  live  snakes,  has  the 
power  of  assuming  the  shape  of  hind,  eagle  or  raven, 
together  with  the  ability  to  drive  cattle  into  morasses, 
destroy  roads  or  bridges,  and  commit  other  damages, 


PERTHSHIRE.  203 


which,  however,  the  forces  of  Nature  can  usually 
accomplish  but  too  well  without  the  aid  of  witchcraft. 
The  cloth  worn  as  the  most  suitable  to  this  forest 
is  a  peculiar  slate-grey,  which  varies  very  much  in 
appearance  according  to  the  light  in  which  it  is 
viewed,  but  doubtlessly  well  adapted  to  sunshine 
and  shadow  on  stony  ground.  The  "Atholl  grey" 
was  introduced  about  one  hundred  years  ago  by 
the  fourth  Duke,  whose  foresters'  dress  then  consisted 
of  an  Atholl  grey  swallow-tailed  coat,  "  yests  to 
match  "  (as  my  tailor's  bill  puts  it),  red  and  green 
Tartan  hose,  with  an  Atholl  Tartan  kilt,  the 
whole  being  topped  by  an  Atholl  bonnet — a  sort  of 
Balmoral,  one,  with  a  red,  green,  and  white  diced 
band,  identical  with  the  regimental  ribbon  of  the 
old  25th  King's  Own  Borderers,  now  the  Scottish 
Borderers.  When  the  present  Duke  succeeded  in 
1864,  he  substituted  black  and  red  worsted  hose  for 
the  Tartan  ones,  modernized  the  cut  of  the  coat,  while 
an  Atholl  grey  stalking-cap,  with  peak's  fore  and  aft 
and    ear-flaps,    took   the   place    of    the   bonnet,    and 


304  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

Atholl  now  remains  the  only  forest  where  the  use 
of  the  kilt  is  still  strictly  adhered  to.  During  the 
present  Duke's  time  this  small  alteration  in  dress, 
together  with  the  abolition  of  deer  drives,  have 
been  the  only  changes  made  in  the  forest  manage- 
ment since  rifles  and  spyglasses  first  came  into  use. 
Towards  the  end  of  the  fifteenth  century  saltpetre 
was  being  burnt  on  the  hill,  one  Angus  Baillie, 
of  Uppat,  having  the  credit  of  killing  deer  early 
in  that  century  with  his  "glasnabhean,"  or  mountain 
match-lock,  although  the  rifle's  helpmate,  the  spyglass, 
did  not  come  into  use  before  1777. 

When  Mr.  Scrope  stayed  in  Atholl,  deer  drives 
on  a  large  scale  often  took  place,  and  spirited  indeed 
are  his  descriptions  of  them,  while  equally  enter- 
taining also  are  his  narrations  of  the  adventures  and 
hardships  to  be  faced  by  the  stalker ;  but  whether  he 
discourses  of  stalking  or  driving,  one  cannot  but 
notice  the  great  number  of  stags  he  and  his  friends 
wounded,  only  to  be  eventually  secured  after  a 
lengthy  pursuit,  and  it  has  always  seemed  to  me  that 


PERTHSHIRE.  205 


these  plentiful  but  not  immediately  fatal  injuries  must 
have  been  the  fault  of  the  high  trajectory  of  the 
single-barrel  rifle  of  those  days,  and  probably  if 
Mr.  Scrope  or  his  friends  had  been  armed  with 
the  modern  weapon,  there  would  seldom  have  been 
any  need  to  slip  so  many  deerhounds.  Times  have 
altered  also  in  other  respects  since  Mr.  Scrope's  day, 
for  I  am  quite  certain  there  is  not  now  living  man 
or  boy,  who,  for  fear  of  spoiling  sport,  would  of  his 
own  free  will  follow  the  example  of  Harry  Lightfoot, 
Scrope's  novitiate  friend  who  chose  to  take  the  hill 
quite  unarmed  on  the  first  day  of  his  deerstalking 
career.  Mr.  Scrope  makes  us  envious  by  telling  of 
Atholl  stags  of  twenty-four  and  up  to  twenty-seven 
stone  in  weight,  but  except  in  one  instance  he  does 
not  state  whether  this  was  clean  weight,  while  when 
he  does  mention  the  manner  of  weighing  it  was  "  as 
the  stag  fell ; "  for  it  is  related  how  one  of  the  Dukes 
of  Atholl  killed  a  wood  stag  at  Dunkeld  which  scaled 
36  stone  6  lbs.  before  the  gralloch.  A  few  pages 
later    Mr.    Scrope    estimates    this    as   amounting   to 


2o6  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

6  Stone  6  lbs.,  which,  if  correct,  brings  the  clean  weight 
of  the  above-mentioned  stag  to  30  stone,  and  thus  the 
one  shot  by  Lord  Greville  in  Glenmore,  on  October 
2nd,  1877,  which  was  verified  to  be  33  stone  clean, 
still  remains  the  heaviest  Scotch  stag  I  can  ever  hear 
of  I  rather  think  Mr.  Scrope's  estimate  of  the  weight 
of  the  gralloch  is  under  the  mark,  and  that  as  a  rule 
in  good-conditioned  beasts  one-third  of  the  total  weight 
is  more  nearly  correct ;  thus  a  stag  scaling  1 8  stone 
as  he  falls  will  rarely  turn  the  beam  at  anything  over 
1 2  stone  7  lb. ;  but  as  only  on  five  occasions  have  I 
ever  seen  the  whole  carcass  weighed,  I  may  not  have 
had  opportunities  sufficiently  numerous  to  speak  with 
confidence,  and  the  foregoing  remarks  are  derived 
solely  from  the  small  experience  already  mentioned. 
The  beasts  that  I  saw  weighed,  however,  were  fine, 
fat,  healthy  stags  of  from  18  to  27  stone  gross  weight ; 
and  this  being  the  case,  I  cannot  see  why  the  weights 
shown  by  these  few  should  be  incorrect  when  applied 
to  larger  numbers. 

Old    Blair   Castle    stood    several  sieges,    and  was 


PERTHSHIRE.  207 


the  scene  of  many  tragedies.  Early  history  tells  how 
it  was  stormed  by  Angus  Og,  Lord  of  the  Isles,  who 
took  the  earl  and  countess  prisoners  to  Isla,  releasing 
them  very  soon  after  their  arrival.  In  1509  Allan 
Macruari  or  MacRory  was  beheaded  in  the  courtyard 
of  the  castle  in  the  presence  of  the  Scottish  king,  but 
history  does  not  record  the  reason.  When  Sir 
William  Murray  of  Tullibardine  came  into  the  family 
estates  in  141 6,  he  married  a  daughter  of  Sir  John 
Colquhoun  of  Luss,  and  the  union  being  blessed  by 
seventeen  sons,  it  is  from  them  that  the  bulk  of 
the  numerous  families  of  Perthshire  Murrays  are 
descended.  Tradition  states  that  these  seventeen 
sons  all  lived  to  be  men,  and  they  one  day  went  with 
their  father  to  attend  the  king's  court,  at  Stirling, 
"  each  with  a  servant,  and  their  father  with  two." 
These  thirty-seven  men  made  a  brave  show,  but  as 
a  law  had  just  been  passed  forbidding  anyone  to  go 
about  with  a  large  following,  the  Laird  of  Tullibardine 
was  challenged  on  the  subject  by  the  king,  who,  when 
he    learnt    that    they   were    only    his    sons,    with    a 


2oS  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 


servant  apiece,  was  so  pleased  with  the  matter  that  he 
presented  each  of  them  with  small  lands  in  heritage. 

In  1689  the  Atholl  men  fought  for  Dundee,  per- 
forming prodigies  of  valour  at  KilHecrankie,  although 
not  with  their  chief  at  their  head,  as  he  did  not 
join  the  Viscount.  An  Atholl  laird,  Stewart  of 
Ballechin,  pursued  the  enemy  so  hotly,  while  wielding 
a  tremendous  broadsword,  that  at  the  end  of  the  fight 
his  hand  had  become  so  swollen  that  it  could  only 
be  released  from  the  basket  hilt  by  sawing  away 
the  fret-work.  Some  traditions  state  that  on  Dundee's 
being  mortally  wounded  he  was  carried  to  Blair  Castle, 
and  died  there ;  but  the  best  authenticated  records  say 
that  he  was  watering  his  horse,  close  to  Urrard  House, 
when  a  bullet,  fired  from  one  of  the  windows,  laid 
low  the  gallant  soldier,  who,  on  receiving  the  wound, 
was  carried  to  the  inn  at  Blair  to  expire  there  ;  but 
be  that  as  it  may,  one  of  the  most  treasured  relics 
in  Blair  Castle  is  the  breast-plate,  pierced  by  the 
fatal  ball,  just  as  Dundee  wore  it  when  he  fell. 

I    regret    I    am   unable   to   give   my   readers   the 


PERTHSHIRE.  209 

average    annual    kill    and    weights    reached    in    this 
forest  in  the  present  day. 

FOREST    OF    CRAGANOUR    BY    KINLOCH    RANNOCH. 

A  PROPERTY  of  Sir  Robert  Menzies,  on  Loch 
Rannoch  side,  recently  afforested,  and  at  present 
rented  by  Mr.  E.  N.  Buxton.  It  covers  some 
12,000  acres  of  ground,  of  which  2,000  acres  are 
sanctuary.  The  place  is  somewhat  too  much  in  its 
infancy  as  a  deer-ground  to  say  anything  for  certain 
of  the  kill  of  stags  ;  it  works  well  in  any  wind,  and 
is  expected  to  yield  from  fifteen  to  eighteen  stags, 
which  by  degrees  should  be  increased  to  twenty-five 
or  thirty. 

FORESTS    OF    DALNACARDOCH    AND    STRONPHADRICK    BY 
BLAIR    ATHOLL. 

A  GROUND  of  the  Duke  of  Atholl's,  afforested  about 
eight  years  ago,  extending  over  some  15,000  acres 
of  fine  wild  hills  and  corries,  and  marching  with  Gaick 
and  Glen  Bruar  on  the  north,  the  other  boundaries 

2   E 


2IO  THE   DEER   FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

being  sheep-ground.  It  carries  one  rifle  comfortably, 
but  I  have  no  information  as  to  what  sport  it  has 
hitherto  yielded ;  but  in  any  case  it  cannot  yet  have 
arrived  at  its  best. 

FOREST     OF     FEALAR     BY     PITLOCHRY. 

This  property,  of  about  14,000  acres,  joins  Atholl 
Forest,  and  is  really  a  part  of  it,  and  belongs  to 
the  Duke.  It  holds  a  great  number  of  hinds,  is  very 
easy  walking,  and  is  best  worked  by  one  rifle,  while 
the  bag  varies  so  considerably  that  no  fair  average 
can  be  stated  ;  but  as  many  as  sixty-three  stags,  with 
a  mean  weight  of  14  stone  11  lbs.  clean,  have  been 
got  in  a  season. 

FOREST    OF    GLENARTNEY    BY    COMRIE. 

Belonging  to  the  Earl  of  Ancaster,  who  keeps 
it  in  his  own  hands,  this  is  a  very  ancient  royal 
forest  of  some  20,000  acres,  the  highest  ground  on 
which  attains  an  altitude  of  3,210  ft. 

It  is  the  most  southern  of  all  the  mainland  forests  ; 


PERTHSHIRE.  211 


sheep  grounds  surround  it  on  all  sides,  the  nearest 
cleared  lands  being  those  of  the  Black  Mount,  some 
twenty-five  miles  distant.  I  have  no  authentic  in- 
formation of  the  total  annual  yield  of  stags  from 
this  forest,  but  as  the  property  is  never  in  the 
market,  and  not  likely  to  be,  the  omission  is  one 
which  will  not  be  of  much  importance  to  my  readers. 
On  the  Callender  end  of  the  ground,  a  portion  of 
the  hill  of  Uam  Var,  made  so  well  known  by  Sir 
Walter  Scott,  forms  part  of  the  forest,  and  the 
opening  scene  of  "  The  Lady  of  the  Lake  "  is  laid 
here,  when  the  hunted  stag,  who 

"  Deep  his  midnight  lair  had  made 
In  lone  Glenartney's  hazel  shade," 

is  used  as  the  means  of  introducing  Fitzjames  to 
the  Lady  of  the  Lake. 

In  this  hill  of  Uam  Var  is  a  great  den  or  cave, 
reputed  in  remote  ages  to  have  been  the  abode  of 
a  saint,  and  in  later  years  used  as  the  abode  of  a 
very  different  sort  of  people,  who  were  either  cattle- 
lifters  or  robbers.     It  was  in  Glenartney  in  1589  that 


212  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

some  of  the  proscribed  Macgregor  clan,  when  on 
a  poaching  expedition,  murdered  one  John  Drummond 
of  Ernoch,  a  royal  forester,  an  incident  which  forms 
the  foundation  of  Sir  Walter  Scott's  "  Legend  of 
Montrose,"  and  a  barbarity  that  likewise  led  to 
many  desperate  encounters  between  the  Macgregors 
and  the  clan  of  the  murdered  man. 


FOREST    OF    GLENBRUAR    BY    BLAIR    ATHOLL. 

A  GROUND  of  about  10,500  acres,  marching  with 
Gaick,  Atholl  and  Glenfeshie.  It  belongs  to  the 
Duke  of  Atholl,  and  was  let  to  Major  E.  H.  Baldock 
for  the  season  of  1895.  There  are  but  few  corries 
on  it,  and  a  good  deal  of  stalking  has  to  be  done 
over  peat  bogs,  while,  as  much  of  this  sort  of  ground 
is  very  bare,  long  and  snake-like  flat  creeps  are 
often  the  order  of  the  day.  The  bag  here  varies 
very  much  according  to  the  prevailing  winds  of  the 
stalking  season,  while  it  likewise  makes  a  great 
difference  to  the  total  whether  the  nearest  adjacent 


PERTHSHIRE.  213 

ground  of  Atholl  is  much  worked  or  kept  quiet,  as 
all  the  best  stags  are  there ;  thus  with  both  conditions 
unfavourable,  it  is  possible  to  go  to  the  hill  for  many 
days  in  succession  without  seeing  a  shootable  beast. 
The  last  tenant  was  limited  to  forty-five  stags  and  got 
but  twenty-four,  which  averaged  14  stone  8  lbs.  clean. 
Major  Baldock  met  with  a  curious  experience  in 
the  month  of  this  last  September,  for  having  wounded 
a  stag,  he  lost  sight  of  him  after  a  long  pursuit,  and 
only  came  up  with  him  late  in  the  evening  quite 
in  the  dusk,  when  the  stag  was  seen  on  the  sky-line 
going  very  slowly  and  stopping  every  now  and  again. 
The  next  day  the  Major  was  obliged  to  drive  to 
Struan  in  the  morning,  so  telling  his  stalker  to 
start  off  to  try  and  find  the  beast,  he  ordered  him, 
if  successful,  to  send  word  back  to  the  house  by 
mid-day.  When  Major  Baldock  returned,  he  found 
the  stalker  there  to  say  that  having  made  out  the 
stag,  he  had  left  a  man  to  watch  him,  whereupon  the 
Major  started  to  stalk  the  stag ;  as  he  got  near,  the 
animal    laid    down,    when,   after   waiting   on    him   for 


214  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF   SCOTLAND. 

half-an-hour,  the  poor  beast  suddenly  rolled  down  the 
hill  stone  dead ! 

FOREST    OF    RANNOCH    LODGE,    KINLOCH    RANNOCH. 

This  is  another  of  the  properties  of  Sir  Robert 
Menzies,  which  has  been  cleared  for  a  considerable 
time.  It  is  fine  wild  ground  with  several  very 
large  bold  corries,  holding  both  stags  and  hinds, 
and  one  rifle  can  go  out  in  any  wind,  although  at 
the  end  of  the  season  a  second  rifle  can  usually  take 
the  hill  when  it  blows  from  a  suitable  airt.  The 
whole  estate  is  some  24,000  acres,  beautifully  placed 
at  the  head  of  Loch  Rannoch,  of  which  12,000  is 
forest,  marching  with  Corrour  and  Ben  Alder,  with  a 
sanctuary  of  2,000  acres,  the  remainder  being  sheep 
and  grouse  ground.  Five  hundred  acres  have  re- 
cently been  planted  on  Loch  Ericht  side,  where  the 
trees  are  doing  well,  which,  when  once  the  deer  can 
be  admitted,  will  prove  a  great  shelter  to  them.  The 
limit  at  present  is  thirty  stags,  which  with  heart 
and   liver   average   about    15    stone  7  lbs.,  and   this 


PERTHSHIRE.  215 


number   should   always   be   got,    and    it    is    not    the 
fault  of  the  forest  if  the  maximum  be  not  reached. 

The  lodge  was  built  in  1803  ^^  the  far  end  of 
Loch  Rannoch,  and  looks  on  to  one  of  the  finest 
views  in  all  Scotland,  although  the  hurricane  of 
November,  1893,  has  made  the  background  appear 
somewhat  bare  for  the  moment,  as  no  less  than 
sixty  acres  of  wood,  planted  when  the  house  was 
built,  were  laid  flat.  It  would  be  inconsistent  to 
take  leave  of  the  Rannoch  Forest  without  reference 
to  the  clan  Menzies,  who  have  been  established  there 
for  many  centuries.  They  fought  for  Bruce  at  Ban- 
nockburn  ;  many  of  them  were  "out"  in  1715,  and 
notably  one  laird — Menzies  of  Culdares — who,  being 
taken  prisoner  at  the  battle  of  Dunblane,  on  receiving  a 
free  pardon,  felt  himself  in  honour  bound  not  to  join 
the  rebellion  of  1 745  ;  in  order,  however,  to  show  he 
was  still  devoted  to  the  cause,  he  sent  a  valuable  horse 
as  a  present  to  Prince  Charles.  The  Highlander  who 
had  charge  of  the  animal  was  arrested,  and  though 
offered    his    life   if   he   would   divulge   the   name   of 


2i6  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

his  master,  he  nobly  preferred  death  to  betraying  his 
trust.  It  was  a  descendant  of  this  Menzies  of 
Culdares  that  first  introduced  the  larch  into  Scotland 
in  1737,  and  from  two  plants  he  gave  one  of  the 
Dukes  of  Atholl  come  all  the  immense  larch  planta- 
tions that  now  flourish  in  that  district.  The  present 
Sir  Robert  Menzies  is  well  known  as  one  of  the 
most  hardy  and  skilful  deer  stalkers  of  the  north, 
and  I  believe  I  am  right  in  saying  that  never  yet 
has  he  availed  himself  of  a  seat  on  pony  back  either 
to  get  to  or  return  from  the  forest,  and  as  that  book 
from  which  those  who  have  titles  to  their  names 
cannot  escape,  says  that  the  popular  baronet  was 
born  in  181 7,  his  powers  of  endurance  are  rendered 
the  more  remarkable,  and  all  good  sportsmen 
will  join  with  me  in  wishing  health  and  long 
life  to  the  "  gael  us  dearg  au  suas,"  or  "the 
red  and  white  for  ever,"  which  was  the  old  Menzies' 
battle-cry  and  is  descriptive  of  their  tartan,  to  my 
mind  the  most  handsome  of  them  all. 


PERTHSHIRE.  217 


FOREST    OF    TULLADII-A-BEITHE    BY    KINLOCH    RANNOCH. 

This  is  another  of  Sir  Robert  Menzies'  recently- 
made  forests  on  Loch  Rannoch,  marching  with 
Camsericht,  Rannoch  Lodge,  Loch  Ericht,  and 
Craganour.  It  covers  some  14,000  acres  of  ground, 
well  sprinkled  with  hills,  woods  and  plantations  on 
the  Loch  Rannoch  side  ;  the  low  ground,  on  which 
grouse  are  shot  for  the  first  two  months  of  the 
season,  makes  excellent  wintering  for  the  deer, 
while  the  high  ground  on  Loch  Ericht  side 
gives  good  stalking  for  one  rifle,  although  it  does 
not  work  well  in  an  east  wind.  The  tenant  is 
limited  to  eighteen  stags,  which  are  usually  got, 
and  average  15  stone  with  heart  and  liver.  The 
forest  lodge  on  the  shores  of  Loch  Rannoch, 
which  was  built  nearly  fifty  years  ago,  has  since 
then  never  been  a  season  empty,  and  has  had  but 
three  tenants,  the  present  one  being  Mr.  T, 
Weller-Poley,  who,  on  October  12th,  1890,  killed 
an  eleven-pointer  stag,  which  may  be  said  to  have 

2   F 


2i8  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

been  charging  him.  He  had  to  risk  moving  some 
hinds  in  order  to  get  near  the  stag ;  as  the  ladies 
ran  together,  some  small  stags  came  in  to  join 
them,  on  which  the  big  one  stopped,  promptly 
chased  them  out,  and  rejoined  the  hinds,  who  were 
all  standing  staring  in  the  direction  of  the  hidden 
stalkers ;  on  the  big  stag  seeing  this,  he,  evidently 
supposing  the  hinds  were  looking  at  other  stags, 
started  off  full  tilt  for  the  spot  where  Mr.  Weller- 
Poley  was  concealed ;  the  beast  came  straight  at 
him  full  trot,  stepping  very  high,  and  was  but 
thirty-five  yards  off  when  he  was  shot  in  the 
chest.  Here  also  the  present  tenant,  whilst  shooting 
grouse  on  a  high  beat,  saw  one  of  his  retrievers 
kill  a  small  black  rat,  which  no  doubt  was  one  of 
the  original  British  rats,  and  it  is  to  be  regretted  that 
it  did  not  receive  the  attentions  of  the  taxidermist. 


219 


Chapter    IX. 
ROSS-SHIRE. 

FORESTS     OF     ACHANALT,     STRATHBRAN,     AND     LOCH 
ROSQUE     BY    DINGWALL. 

These  three  estates  are  the  property  of  Mr.  Arthur 
Bignold.  Achanalt  extends  to  4,500  acres,  Loch 
Rosque  to  11,000  acres,  and  Strathbran  to  14,500 
acres,  making  altogether  some  30,000  acres  of  ex- 
cellent deer  ground,  and  the  Parliamentary  return, 
which  put  the  acreage  of  these  three  properties  at 
45,000  acres,  is  altogether  erroneous.  These  three 
estates,  now  rolled  into  one,  are  bounded  by  the 
river  Bran  on  the  south,  by  the  forests  of  Loch 
Luichart  and  Fannich  on  the  north,  and  the  sheep 
grounds  of  Kinlochewe  on  the  west.  Achanalt  was 
first   afforested   in    1879,    Strathbran    came    next    in 


aao  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

1887,  followed  by  Loch   Rosque  in  1880.     The  three 
properties   are    excellent   examples    of    what    can   be 
done  with  deer  in  a  short  time,  for  when  Mr.  Bignold 
first  bought  the  property,   there  was  nearly  as  good 
a  chance  of  meeting  with  a  Red  Indian  as  of  coming 
across   a   red   deer.     The   Strathbran   section   holds, 
at  the  western  end   of   Loch    Fannich,   the  beautiful 
Cabuie   Glen,   together  with  a  large   part  of  "  The 
Cailleach,"  or  Old  Woman  Hill.     The  highest  ground 
of  the  forest  is  in  the   Loch  Rosque  division,  where 
an   altitude   of  3,060   feet    is    reached.      During   the 
last  ten  years   the  proprietor  has  planted  some  five 
million  trees  on  the  low  grounds,  while  in  addition 
to  this  the  Achanalt  part  contains  the  natural  birch 
-  wood   of   Chuillim,  which,   extending   for  fully    three 
and  a  half  miles,   is  celebrated   for  the  large   stock 
of  black   game   it  holds,   the  numbers    of  woodcock 
breeding  there  every  season,  and  the  nesting  of  the 
golden  eye  and  goosander  on  the  wooded  shores  of 
Loch  Chuillim. 

The    Loch    Rosque   beat   is   under  the   charge  of 


ROSS-SHIRE.  221 


Donald  Mackintosh,  the  head  forester,  who  has  lived 
at  Achnasheen  for  over  thirty  years.  Duncan  Fraser 
and  John  Mitchie  look  after  the  Strathbran  portion, 
while  Kenneth  Gillanders  takes  care  of  the  Achanalt 
section.  In  the  Long  Corrie  of  Ben  Fin  there  is  a 
large  joint  sanctuary  for  the  three  grounds,  into  which 
the  deer  begin  to  gather  in  May,  and  out  of  which 
they  do  not  break  until  the  first  week  of  the  October 
following  ;  and  in  this  corrie,  early  in  September  of 
1894,  no  less  than  870  stags  were  counted,  besides 
knobbers  and  hinds,  amidst  them  being  a  remarkably 
fine  hummel,  who  has  been  on  the  ground  for  the  last 
three  seasons.  This  forest  will  carry  three  rifles,  but 
not  for  every  day  of  the  season  ;  all  deer  are  got  by 
fair  stalking,  the  average  annual  kill  being  from 
seventy  to  eighty  stags  (in  1895  it  was  eighty-three 
stags),  which,  with  heart  and  liver  included,  show  a 
mean  weight  of  13  stone  9^  lbs.,  but  this  total  takes 
in  the  weights  of  some  small  beasts,  shot  by  accident 
or  by  novices,  which  it  would  have  been  better  to 
omit    taking    any   notice   of.     The   entire    stock    of 


222  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

deer  belonging  to  the  three  grounds  is  somewhere 
between  i,8oo  and  2,000  head,  while  up  to  the 
present  only  two  stags  have  been  killed  weighing 
over  20  stone.  One  was  got  by  Count  Szapary 
of  21  stone  6  lbs.,  and  the  other,  with  only  six  points, 
scaled  a  stone  heavier.  In  an  enclosed  portion  of 
the  Chuillim  wood  Mr.  Bignold  has  a  nice  herd  of 
wild  Japanese  deer,  the  produce  of  some  beasts  given 
him  by  Lord  Powerscourt  some  ten  years  ago.  They 
are  somewhat  smaller  than  fallow  deer,  and  are 
remarkably  savage  to  strangers  of  their  own  species, 
for  on  two  fresh  stags  being  introduced  to  the 
herd,  they  were  both  promptly  killed.  At  present 
these  deer  have  not  been  turned  wild  on  to  the 
hills,  but  as  they  are  very  fleet  of  foot,  quick  of 
eye,  and  possess  the  most  sensitive  of  noses,  they 
should  make  exciting  and  difficult  stalking  whenever 
that  time  comes.  With  this  herd  there  was  also  at 
one  time  a  pair  of  Axis  deer,  imported  by  Mr.  Bignold 
from  the  Himalayas,  but  the  experiment  did  not  turn 
out    satisfactory,    as   the   stag    invariably   killed   his 


ROSS-SHIRE.  223 


offspring   (dropped    at    Christmas    time)    as    soon    as 
they   arrived    at   or   about    two   years    of    age ;     the 
old    stag  is  now   dead,   and   the  hind  alone  remains. 
In  the  unenclosed  part  of  this  Chuillim   wood    there 
is  likewise  a  herd  of  about  two  hundred  fallow  deer, 
free    to   roam    where   they  like,   and  fresh  blood  has 
been  introduced  from  Windsor  Park.     Amongst  this 
herd  there  was  at  one  time  a  white  doe,  well  authenti- 
cated  to    have   been   twenty   years   old,    who,   after 
reaching  that  age,  died  from  starvation  through  the 
loss  of  her  teeth,  this  being  one  of  the  few  instances 
of  any  beast  dying  of  hunger  on  this  ground,  for  the 
wintering  is   so  good  as    to  render   such   distressing 
occurrences    most    rare.      The    clearances   made    by 
Mr.    Bignold   have  had  the  effect  of  opening  up  to 
deer    a    most    extensive    and    continuous    chain    of 
forest  ground,  and  they  can  now  wander  from  north 
to  south  (or  vice  versa),  from  the  southern  boundary 
on  the  river  Bran  to  the  northern  extremity  of  the 
forest   of  Rhidorrach,    a   distance   of  forty  miles   as 
the   crow   flies ;    again,   from   the  western   march   of 


2;»4  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

Loch  Rosque  to  the  eastern  boundary  of  Ben  Wyvis 
Forest  a  similar  chance  is  offered  to  the  deer  of 
travelling  over  a  like  distance,  stretching  from  east 
to  west.  On  the  hill  of  Ben-y-vich,  in  1894,  there 
was  a  pair  of  dotterels,  supposed  to  be  almost  the 
last  of  this  race  in  the  north  of  Scotland ;  in  the 
Faden  Burn,  on  the  west  end  of  the  ground,  the 
golden  eagle  and  the  peregrine  frequently  nest,  whilst 
among  the  rare  small  birds  Ray's  wagtail  may  be 
mentioned.  In  the  winter  of  1891  a  sad  accident 
happened  in  the  enclosed  deer  park  at  Strathbran. 
With  the  tame  deer  there  was  a  royal  red  deer  stag, 
who  had  been  taken  as  a  calf  out  of  Corrie  Reoch 
in  Fannich  by  John  Maclennan,  the  forester  there. 
It  had  been  hand-fed  with  milk,  and  eventually 
turned  out  into  this  park,  and  was  eleven  years  old 
at  the  time  of  the  tragedy.  In  December,  1891, 
poor  John  came  across  the  hill  from  Fannich  early 
in  the  morning  to  reach  Strathbran,  and  in  order 
to  avoid  a  very  small  detour  he  jumped  the  deer 
fence,    and   crossed    the   park   where   he   well   knew 


HOSS-SU/RE.  225 


this  stag  was,  while  at  the  same  time  he  was  equally 
aware  he  was  a  dangerous  beast.  The  rash  man 
had  not  even  so  much  as  a  stout  stick  with  him, 
and  had  gone  but  a  short  distance  ere  he  was 
attacked  and  killed,  his  cries  for  help  being  heard, 
but  not  understood,  by  some  women  in  the  road. 
His  cap  was  found  where  the  struggle  began,  some 
sixty  yards  from  his  body,  and  clearly  he  had  fought 
hard  for  his  life,  for  Maclennan  was  a  strong  man 
of  over  six  feet.  The  poor  fellow  was  found  lying 
with  his  head  on  his  arm,  very  little  knocked 
about,  and  pierced  but  in  two  places,  one  wound 
being  in  the  stomach  and  the  other  in  the  heart. 
He  lies  buried  in  the  churchyard  of  Lochbroom, 
and  his  epitaph,  affixed  by  Mr.  Bignold,  is,  "Tot 
cervorum  victor  non  senectuti  sed  cervo  cessit." 
Previous  to  the  death  of  Maclennan  one  of  Mr. 
Bignold's  foresters,  Duncan  Fraser,  had  had  three- 
quarters  of  an  hour's  fight  for  his  life  with  this  very 
stag,  who  surprised  him  quite  unarmed,  whereupon 
Duncan   instantly  jumped    plump   on   to    the    stag's 

2  G 


226  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

head,  holding  on  by  the  horns,  and  being  a  strong 
man,  he  contrived  to  keep  his  seat,  while  the  stag 
kept  carrying  him  round  the  enclosure.  At  last 
his  cries  for  help  were  heard  by  a  shepherd,  the 
father  of  the  John  Maclennan  this  stag  killed  shortly 
after,  who,  armed  with  a  spade,  made  haste  to  the 
rescue,  and  as  good  luck  would  have  it,  as  he 
reached  the  gate  of  the  enclosure  the  stag  with 
Duncan  came  close  past  it,  so  the  shepherd  opening 
it  smartly,  Duncan  bounded  off  his  unpleasant 
steed,  to  make  a  dash  for  the  opening,  through 
which  he  just  managed  to  squeeze  in  time  for 
them  to  close  it  in  the  face  of  the  infuriated  beast. 
Once  in  safety,  Duncan  was  so  utterly  exhausted 
by  the  prolonged  struggle  that  he  fainted  clean  away, 
and  it  was  some  time  before  he  recovered  sufficiently 
to  proceed  to  his  house. 

FOREST    OF    ACHNASHELLACH,    "  THE    FIELD    OF    STORMS," 
BY   ACHNASHELLACH. 

This    forest,    nearly    surrounded    by    other    deer 
grounds,    was    purchased    not     very    long     ago    by 


ROSS-SHIRE.  227 


Mr.  Emerson  Bainbridge,  from  Lord  Wimborne,  who 
became  the  owner  in  187 1.  It  covers  a  large  extent 
of  high,  rough  ground,  but  I  have  not  been  able  to 
procure  any  reliable  information.  "  The  Field,"  which 
is  rarely  incorrect,  states  that  twenty-eight  stags  were 
killed  in  this  season  of  1895,  t>ut  from  other  equally 
trustworthy  sources  I  hear  that  the  ground  was  very 
lightly  shot,  and  that  this  forest,  when  harder  worked, 
is  capable  of  making  a  far  better  return  from  the 
25,000  acres  over  which  it  extends.  Corrie  Vanie  is 
a  large  and  celebrated  corrie  on  this  ground,  and  it 
was  from  here  that  the  stags  were  driven  when,  on 
October  5th,  1870,  Mr.  Tenant,  the  then  occupant, 
gave  a  deer  drive  to  the  Prince  of  Wales,  which 
resulted  in  the  death  of  nineteen  good  beasts. 

FOREST    OF    ALLADALE,    ARDGAY. 

This  fine  ground  of  some  40,000  acres  is  the 
property  of  Sir  Charles  Ross  of  Balnagowan,  and 
is  let  to  Sir  H.  B.  Meux,  who  joins  it  on  to  Deanich. 
On  the  east  it  marches  with  the  forests  of  Amaf  and 


228  THE   DEER    FORESTS   OF  SCOTLAND. 


Glencalvie,  on  the  south  and  south-west  with  Deanich 
and  Corriemullzle,  and  the  Langwell  sheep  ground 
on  the  north  and  north-west.  It  contains  no 
sanctuary,  but  there  is  a  fair  quantity  of  winter- 
ing woods  on  some  of  the  lower  slopes,  while,  if  it 
is  let  on  a  long  lease,  no  limit  is  made  as  to  the  kill, 
but  on  the  other  hand,  if  the  let  is  a  short  one,  then 
the  proprietor  imposes  a  limit,  which  is  a  reasonable 
and  sensible  way  of  dealing  with  long  and  short  leases. 
For  many  years  this  ground  has  been  more  or  less 
a  forest,  and  the  sheep  have  been  cleared  from  time 
to  time  as  was  deemed  expedient.  The  hills  run  up 
to  2,700  ft.  The  forest  will  carry  three  rifles,  and 
yields  from  sixty  to  sixty-five  stags  of  from  15  to  16 
stone  clean  weight. 

FOREST    OF    ALINE,    STORNOWAY. 

Belongs  to  Lady  Matheson,  and  is  at  present 
rented  by  Mr.  H.  Holmes.  It  has  an  area  of  some 
10,000  acres  of  chiefly  burnt  ground  with  but  little 
heather,  and  thus  the  prevailing  tint  of  the  ground  is 


JROSS-SHIRE.  229 


one  to  which  a  light  yellow  cloth  is  most  suitable. 
The  absence  of  either  sanctuary  or  wood  for  winter 
shelter  the  deer  remedy  for  themselves  in  severe 
weather,  by  shifting  on  to  the  adjacent  forests  of 
North  Harris  and  Morsgail,  according  to  the  direction 
of  the  wind.  The  greatest  altitude  is  1,600  ft,  which 
is  reached  on  the  summit  of  Lienthaid,  Carnnabhal  is 
1,240  ft.,  and  Beinn-na-Mhuil — the  hill  of  the  mile — 
is  1,200  ft.  This  ground  was  first  afforested  about 
fifty  years  ago,  only  again  to  be  put  under  sheep, 
and  then,  in  1890,  it  was  once  more  cleared.  It 
easily  carries  one  rifle,  with  a  limit  of  fifteen  stags, 
which,  like  all  the  other  Lewis  stags,  are  handsome 
little  fellows,  scaling  about  12  stone  clean,  with 
small,  prettily-shaped  horns  usually  carrying  a  number 
of  points. 

I  shall  here  take  the  opportunity  of  dealing  very 
shortly  with  the  remaining  forests  in  Lewis,  and  for 
a  description  of  the  character  of  the  ground  and  the 
size  of  the  deer  my  readers  can  turn  to  the  account  of 
Lady   Farquhar's  forest   of   Amhuinsuidh,    in    North 


230  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

Harris,  which  is  a  part  of  the  county  of  Inverness. 
In  addition  then  to  Aline,  Lady  Matheson  owns  four 
other  forests  in  the  island.  Park  covers  some  41,000 
acres;  Morsgail,  20,000  acres;  Scaliscro  but  3,140 
acres ;  while  Arnish,  a  small  home  forest,  or  rather 
a  big  deer  park  to  Stornoway  Castle,  extends  but  to 
2,776  acres.  I  regret  to  say  that  of  none  of  these 
four  grounds  have  I  been  able  to  procure  good 
information. 

FOREST    OF    AMAT    BY   ARDGAY. 

This  is  a  very  small  forest,  touching  Alladale  on 
the  west  and  Diebiedale  on  the  south,  the  other 
boundaries  being  sheep  and  grouse  ground.  It 
belongs  to  Mr.  Ross  of  Pitcalnie,  and  is  at  present 
let  to  Mr.  F    T.  Gervers. 

FOREST  OF  APPLECROSS  BY  LOCH  CARRON. 

This  vast  property,  at  one  time  the  home  of  the 
clan  Macdonnell  of  Glengarry,  was  purchased  en  d.'oc 
by  the  Duke  of  Leeds.     It  then  consisted  of  144,000 


ROSS-SHIRE.  231 


acres,  which  the  Duke  bought  for  ^135,000,  or 
18-y.  /[d.  an  acre.  Later  on  the  property  was  resold 
in  several  lots.  In  1871  Lord  Wimborne  bought 
Achnashellach  and  Glenuaig,  Mr.  Ogilvy  Dalgleish 
took  Coulin,  while  Lord  Middleton  in  1861  became 
the  owner  of  Applecross  proper.  The  forest  is  a 
peninsular  one,  Loch  Carron  bounding  it  on  the 
south  and  Applecross  Sound  on  the  west,  while  the 
other  sides  march  with  the  forests  of  Glenshieldaig, 
Ben  Damph  and  New  Kelso.  It  is  rough,  stony,  high 
ground,  Ben  Bahn  being  2,936  feet,  with  several  other 
hills  ranging  from  2,000  feet  upwards.  The  grounds 
of  the  crofters,  who  are  on  this  estate  a  really  happy 
family,  are  carefully  wired  off  from  the  forest,  and 
Lord  Middleton  has  spent  over  ;^  100, 000  on  the 
whole  place  since  he  bought  it.  I  have  heard  on 
fairly  good  authority  that  from  seventy  to  eighty 
stags  are  killed  each  season,  but  as  the  rainfall  of 
these  parts  is  returned  at  60  inches  a  year,  I  should 
imagine  that  the  numbers  of  the  killed  must  vary 
very  much,  for  in  seasons  where  a  good  part  of  this 


233  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

rainfall   came   in    September  and    October    the   bag 
would  perforce  suffer  a  considerable  reduction. 

FOREST  OF  ATTADALE,  OR  BENDRONAIG,  BY  STRATHCARRON. 

Belonging  to  Sir  Kenneth  J.  Matheson,  and  rented 
by  the  Baron  W.  Schroder,  a  brother  of  the  lessee  of 
Glenfeshie,  the  cleared  ground  of  this  estate  covers 
some  15,000  acres,  in  addition  to  which  there  is 
other  13,000  of  grouse  ground.  The  proper  ap- 
pellation of  this  forest  is  undoubtedly  Bendronaig, 
for  it  is  called  after  the  big  hill  of  that  name  which, 
rising  to  an  altitude  of  2,612  feet,  lies  in  the  midst  of 
the  deer  ground,  but  owing  to  the  Attadale  shootings 
being  let  with  the  forest,  the  whole  place  by  degrees 
has  become  known  as  Attadale. 

Although  the  ground  is  steep  and  rocky,  the  grazing 
is  good ;  the  bag  varies  from  thirty-five  to  forty 
stags  of  14  stone  clean,  but  the  number  killed  is 
affected  more  or  less  by  winds  and  seasons.  It  is 
said  that  Prince  Charlie  passed  a  night  on  Bendronaig 
while  waiting  for  news  of  a  scout  he   had   sent   to 


J?OSS-SH/NE. 


233 


Poolewe  to  lok  for  the  arrival  of  a  ship  in  which 
he    expected   d    escape ;    this    messenger    tradition 
states  was   killd  on  his   road,   after  passing  a  night 
at   a   house    in  Gairloch,    where    he   rashly   opened 
his  sporran  to  )ay  for  his   entertainment,    displaying 
thereby  several  nieces  of  gold  ;  the  man  of  the  house, 
McLean  by  naie,  saw  them,  and  resolving  to  make 
them  his  own,  )ursued  the  scout  and  shot  him  dead. 
It  was  in  tryiq;   to   get   tidings   of  this   messenger 
that   Prince  Chrlie  came  to   Bendronaig,   where  he 
passed  the  nighiin  a  deep  burn  at  the  south-west  end 
of  the  hill.     Tfe  murdered  man  was  wearing  a  suit 
of  yellow    cloth  at   the    time   of   his  death,   and   for 
many  years  aftrwards  it  was  remarked  in  Gairloch 
that  McLean  aii  his  family  were  to  be  seen  wearing 
pieces  of  the  saie  material.      There  can,  however,  be 
no  doubt  that  MLean  did  not  know  he  was  murdering 
a  messenger  of  Pince  Charlie,  for  such  an  office  would 
have  secured  fre  pass  to  anyone  all  over  the  High- 
lands, no  matteihow  much  gold  the  messenger  had 
carried  about  win  him.     The  proprietor  of  this  estate 
I  2  H 


234  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

has  spent  very  large  sums  on  repairs,  improvements, 
plantings,  buildings,  and  river  embankments. 

FORESTS     OF     BEN    DAMPH     AND     NEW    KELSO,    TORRIDOX. 

Purchased  some  years  ago  by  the  Earl  of  Love- 
lace from  Mr.  Duncan  Darroch,  these  properties  now 
belong  to  Captain  the  Hon.  Lionel  Fortescue  King. 
The  two  forests  make  up  18,000  acres — Ben  Damph 
being  12,500  acres  and  New  Kelso  5,500  acres — 
of  high  rocky  ground,  with  the  hills  standing  out 
singly,  their  sides  much  cut  up  by  watercourses, 
while  on  the  very  high  ground  there  is  but  little 
feeding.  The  valleys  and  burn  sides  afford  excellent 
grazing.  The  forests  which  to-day  are  known  as 
Ben  Damph  and  Torridon  were  cleared  by  Mr. 
Duncan  Darroch  in  1872,  and  up  till  1885  that 
gentleman  stalked  the  whole  ground  himself.  In 
that  year  the  Ben  Damph  portion  was  sold  to  the 
late  Earl  of  Lovelace,  who  at  once  set  to  work  to 
build  a  fine  house  on  it,  making  roads,  pony  tracks, 
boat-houses,    plantations,  fences,    otherwise   spending 


ROSS-SHIRE.  335 


largely  on  the  place,  as  is  the  wont  with  most  pur- 
chasers of  new  properties.  In  1888  New  Kelso 
was  bought  by  the  Earl  from  Sir  Kenneth  Matheson, 
of  Ardross,  while  as  it  joined  Ben  Damph  on 
the  east  side,  it  was  added  to  that  forest,  which 
marches  on  the  north  with  Torridon,  on  the  east 
with  Coulin,  Achnashellach,  and  New  Kelso  sheep- 
ground,  while  on  the  west  Loch  Torridon  forms 
a  water  boundary,  on  which  are  the  woods  of  Ard- 
more,  which  cover,  together  with  the  other  woods 
on  the  shore  of  Loch  Damph,  the  deer  frequent  in 
numbers  during  hard  weather.  The  greater  part 
(4,000  acres)  of  the  hill  of  Ben  Damph  (3,000  feet)  is 
devoted  to  a  sanctuary.  The  ground  carries  two 
rifles  until  the  end  of  September,  and  will  then  take 
a  third  in  suitable  winds.  A  cloth  the  colour  of 
Aberdeen  granite,  in  fact,  a  "  Black  Mount  mixture," 
harmonises  best  with  the  prevailing  tint  of  the 
surroundings  ;  from  thirty  to  forty  stags  are  got 
each  season,  weighing,  one  with  the  other,  14  stone, 
heart   and    liver   included.      Some   royals   are  killed 


236  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

each  year;  the  horns,  however,  appear  to  grow 
more  to  beam  than  to  points,  a  fine  specimen  of 
this  description  of  head  being  got  in  1894 — a  very 
massive  nine-pointer  with  a  37-inch  span.  In 
1890  Mr.  E.  B.  Jenkins  shot  a  remarkable  three- 
horned  stag,  with  the  right  horn  quite  natural  and 
of  large  size ;  the  left  was  nearly  as  large,  but  grew 
down  over  the  cheek,  while  a  third  horn  sprang 
from  the  base  of  this  left  one,  growing  in  a  natural 
position  to  a  length  of  seven  inches.  This  mal- 
formation was  doubtless  the  result  of  an  injury, 
but  though  the  beast  had  all  the  appearance  of  a 
three-horned  animal,  it  cannot  be  called  a  true  three- 
horn,  as  there  should  be  three  separate  coronets  on 
the  head  ere  such  a  distinction  can  be  claimed. 
At  Ardmore  and  Balgay  there  are  small  lodges  for 
the  use  of  stalkers  or  fishers,  as  occasion  may  require, 
for  in  addition  to  the  deer  the  fish  at  Ben  Damph 
are  also  a  strong  point,  and  salmon  and  sea  trout 
are  in  plenty. 


ROSS-SHIRE.  237 


FOREST   OF    BENMORE    BY    ARDGAY. 

This  property,  belonging  to  Sir  Charles  Ross,  of 
Balnagowan,  and  at  present  let  to  Mr.  A.  H.  Heath, 
covers  about  45,000  acres,  of  which  upwards  of  40,000 
acres  have  recently  been  put  under  deer.  The  hill 
of  Benmore,  from  which  the  forest  takes  its  name, 
is  nearly  in  the  centre  of  the  ground,  and  rising  to 
a  height  of  over  3,200  feet,  a  number  of  fine  corries 
lie  around  the  base.  On  the  north  these  lands  touch 
the  Duke  of  Westminster's  forest  of  Glen  Coul  ;  on 
the  west  the  sheep-grounds  of  Tumore  narrowly 
divide  it  from  Glencanisp  forest ;  the  eastern  and 
southern  marches  also  run  with  lands  devoted  to 
the  production  of  mutton,  on  which  there  are  always 
a  good  few  outlying  deer.  The  place  carries  three 
rifles,  with  a  limit  of  sixty  stags,  which  will  average 
about   15  stone  7  lbs.   clean. 

On  this  ground  the  present  Sir  Charles  Ross  put 
in  a  smart  piece  of  stalking.  He  left  his  forester 
to  watch  a  lying  stag,  while  he  went  on  about  a 
mile  to  spy  over  the  ridge  they  were  then  on  ;    while 


238  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

Sir  Charles  was  away,  the  stag  the  forester  was 
watching  got  up  and  moved  off,  and  the  man  not 
Hking  to  lose  sight  of  him  went  on  also,  and  thus 
when  Sir  Charles  returned  he  found  himself  quite 
alone  on  the  hill,  and  being  unable  to  "  pick  up " 
his  man  by  the  aid  of  his  glass,  he  turned  short 
round  and  continued  his  way  Into  the  forest,  where 
he  soon  found  two  stags,  which  he  stalked,  killed, 
and  gralloched  for  himself,  and  then  before  he  came 
home  late  that  evening  he  got  one  more  stalk  at  a 
small  herd,  out  of  which  he  killed  three,  thus  leaving 
five  good  stags  on  the  hill  for  the  ponies  to  fetch 
home  next  day,  the  heaviest  of  which  was  21  stone 
and  the  smallest  16  stone.  All  five  of  these  beasts 
fell  on  such  steep  ground  that  they  had  to  be  cut  in 
halves,  and  carried  by  the  gillies  to  a  spot  accessible 
to  the  ponies,  sent  from   Inchnadamph. 

FOREST    OF    BEN    WYVIS    BY    EVANTON. 

This  well-known  forest,  so  closely  associated  with 
the  name  of  that  devoted  admirer  of  deer,   the  late 


ROSS-SHIRE.  239 


Mr.  Horatio  Ross,  consists  at  the  present  time  of 
some  20,000  acres,  part  of  which  was  first  cleared  in 
1857,  more  in  1869,  and  finally  the  whole  in  1881. 
The  ground  is  remarkable  for  the  conformation  of  the 
very  high  hills  it  contains,  for  Ben  Wyvis  is  3,429  ft.  ; 
An  Sveach,  3,295  ft.;  Tom-an-Chonnich,  3,134  ft.; 
and  Corrie  Grand,  3,017  ft.,  while  there  are  many 
others  of  over  2,000  ft.  ;  now  all  these  "big  fellows," 
unlike  the  bulk  of  the  high  grounds  of  Scotland,  are 
neither  rocky  nor  precipitous,  but  are  great,  bold, 
"  rolling  "  hills,  having  grass-clad  sides,  with  stretches 
of  mossy  ground  round  their  bases. 

This  forest,  purchased  by  Mr.  Walter  Shoolbred, 
in  1885,  from  Mr.  Colin  Ross,  marches  on  the 
north,  north-east,  and  south  with  the  sheep  grounds 
of  Swordale,  Castle  Leod,  and  Novar ;  while 
on  the  remaining  sides  it  joins  the  forests  of  Inchbae 
and  Kildermorie.  In  the  main  valley,  and  close  to 
the  new  lodge  the  present  owner  has  built  at  the 
head  of  Loch  Glass,  there  are  three  nice  stretches 
of  birch  wood  for  winter   shelter.     The  ground  will 


240  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

carry  two  rifles  each  day  of  the  season  ;  all  deer  are 
got  by   fair  stalking,  the  average  kill  being  fifty  to 
fifty-five    stags,    which    weigh,    one   with   the   other, 
14  to    \\\  stone,  heart  and  liver  included.     Charles 
Mackenzie,  the  present   head  forester,  together  with 
his     father    John,     both    stalked    for     Mr.    Horatio 
Ross,    who    entertained   a   sincere   friendship  and    a 
high   opinion  of  them.     It  is  almost  needless  to  say 
that   when    Mr.    Shoolbred    took    over   the    property 
"  Old  John  "  remained  in  welcome  possession  of  his 
cottage  at    Corrie  Vackie,  at  the  door  of  which  he 
may  still    usually   be  seen   in   the  morning,   spyglass 
in  hand,  and  ready  for  a  chat  with  any   sportsman 
making  his  way  to  the  forest.      On  the  east  beat  here 
Mr.  Shoolbred  had  a  somewhat  remarkable  day  on 
the  30th  September,  1893.     Up  to  lunch  time  he  had 
three  separate  stalks,  each  of  which  owing  to  shifting 
wind   was   unsuccessful,    and   then,    while   seeking   a 
sheltered  spot  to  rest  in  for  a  short  time,  he  saw  the 
tops  of  a  stag's  horn  coming  towards  him,  and  there 
was  barely  time  to  drop  down  and  get  the  rifle  out  of 


ROSS-SHIRE.  241 


the  cover  before  he  came  into  view,  and  was  promptly 
killed.  The  spyglasses  were  not  idle  during  the  short 
luncheon  sit,  and  soon  showed  that  in  a  corrie  in  front 
of  the  party  there  was  a  fine  royal  busily  engaged 
in  herding  a  lot  of  hinds.  The  other  stags  were 
broken  into  small  lots,  some  feeding,  some  roaring, 
others  rolling  in  the  "poll  buiridh,"  and  plenty  skirmish- 
ing with  each  other,  so  that  there  was  nothing  for  the 
stalking  party  to  do  but  to  wait,  watch,  and  hope 
that  some  of  them  would  move  to  better  ground. 
After  a  long  wait  two  of  the  stags  left  the  corrie  to 
make  their  way  towards  the  hill  the  party  were  on. 
As  they  neared  the  foot,  one  stopped  and  commenced 
to  rub  his  horns  on  an  old  stump  of  a  tree,  but 
the  other  again  came  straight  at  Mr.  Shoolbred, 
and  was  knocked  over  in  due  course.  It  was  then 
naturally  expected  the  second  stag  would  be  seen 
galloping  away,  but  he  was  so  taken  up  with  tearing 
at  the  tree  stump  that  he  never  heard  the  shot ;  at 
last,  tiring  of  his  amusement,  he  commenced  to  look 
about  for  his  companion,  when  not  seeing  him,  he  came 

2  I 


242  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

trotting  on  after  him,  only  also  to  fall  dead  within  ten 
yards  of  the  friend  he  sought.  Thus  Mr,  Shoolbred 
got  three  good  beasts  on  the  same  hill  without  stalking 
either  of  them,  of  which  the  two  last  each  weighed 
over  1 6  stone,  while  carrying  respectively  ten  and 
nine  points. 

FOREST  OF  BRAEMORE  BY  GARVE. 

Sir  John  Fowler  purchased  this  property  from 
Mr.  Duncan  Davidson  of  Tulloch,  in  1865.  At 
that  time  no  part  of  the  44,000  acres  of  which  it 
consisted  was  in  forest,  while  some  fifteen  stags  was 
the  usual  annual  kill,  obtained  chiefly  from  the  east 
side  of  the  ground,  where  the  corries  of  Beinn 
Dearg  afforded  food  and  shelter,  which  never  failed 
to  attract  stags.  During  the  years  of  1866  and  1867 
the  daringly  placed  house  of  Braemore  was  built, 
and  while  this  was  in  course  of  construction  about 
23,000  acres  of  ground  had  been  cleared.  With 
reference  to  the  erection  of  the  house,  which  stands 
some   750   feet    above   sea-level,    the  people   of  the 


'fi. 


HOSS-SfflRE.  243 


district  were  so  surprised  at  seeing  the  loftiness  of 
the  selected  site  that  regrets  were  freely  expressed 
amongst  them  that  Sir  John's  relatives  were  not 
consulted  as  to  his  state  of  mind,  so  that  a  stop 
might  be  put  to  the  audaciously  insane  proceeding 
of  building  a  house  in  such  a  spot,  and  at  such  a 
height  above  the  level  of  the  valley,  which  the  people 
regarded  as  the  only  proper  place  fit  for  a  habitation. 
The  first  visitors  to  Braemore  included  several 
remarkable  men,  and  amongst  them  figure  the 
names  of  John  Gould,  the  ornithologist ;  Edward 
Duncan,  the  artist ;  John  Campbell  of  Isla,  Sir 
William  Harcourt,  Sir  John  Millais,  Sir  Richard 
Owen,  and  Sir  Edwin  Landseer,  and  the  great  artist 
stalked  several  times  in  this  forest,  although  he  had 
then  nearly  retired  from  active  service  on  the  hill. 
When  Sir  Edwin  arrived  at  Braemore  he  had  already 
commenced  his  famous  picture  of  "  The  Ptarmigan 
Hill,"  a  commission  from  Sir  John  Fowler,  and  the 
Gordon  setters,  which  are  such  a  prominent  feature 
of  the   canvas,    were  both   drawn   from   a   dog    the 


244  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF   SCOTLAND. 

artist  himself  selected  from  the  Braemore  kennels, 
and  carried  off  with  him  to  the  south  to  study  from 
at  his  leisure.  The  visitors'  book  is  one  of  the 
features  of  life  at  Braemore,  and  from  the  day  of 
its  commencement  Lady  Fowler  has  taken  much 
interest  in  its  yearly  progress.  Amongst  other 
matters  are  two  beautiful  drawings  by  Landseer;  a 
series  of  sketches  by  Millais,  one  of  which  illustrates 
an  unsuccessful  day's  stalking,  while  another  shows 
the  adventures  of  a  day  on  the  hill,  shared  by  Sir 
William  Harcourt  and  himself.  In  1869  Sir  Roderick 
Murchison,  the  distinguished  geologist,  spent  three 
weeks  at  Braemore,  and  revisited  the  scene  of  his 
labours  on  the  west  coast  forty-two  years  earlier. 
His  remarks  in  "  the  book"  run  as  follows  :  "  Adieu, 
Braemore,  where  the  cordial  reception  of  kind  host 
and  hostess  have  made  an  indelible  impression  on 
the  old  Silurian !  Forty-two  years  have  lapsed  since 
(when  in  company  with  Professor  Sedgwick)  I 
hammered  the  rocks  at  Ullapool,  and  now,  by  the 
active   assistance   of   Sir   John,    and   the   aid   of  his 


ROSS-SHIRE.  245 


handy  steam  yacht,  I  have  been  enabled  to  place 
all  the  great  rock  formations,  which  are  exposed  on 
the  shores  of  Loch  Broom,  in  their  true  order  of 
age  and  succession,  from  my  Fundamental  Gneiss 
(Laurentian),  through  the  grand  massive  rocks  of 
Benmore,  the  Lower  Silurian  Quartz  rocks  and 
Limestone  of  Ullapool,  up  to  the  overlying  Grey 
Gneiss  of  Braemore  (Metamorphic  Lower  Silurian), 
on  which  the  mansion  stands,  and  from  which, 
looking  northwards,  the  spectacle  commands,  in  one 
unrivalled  view,  all  the  glorious  geological  series." 
The  aforesaid  book  does  not  say  if  Sir  Roderick 
was  a  deer  slayer,  but  the  above  remarks  have 
suggested  to  the  author  that  possibly  he  would  have 
given  a  novel,  interesting,  and  perhaps  puzzling 
description  of  a  stalk,  from  his  own  point  of  view. 

In  1869  Millais  again  enriched  the  visitors'  book 
with  a  drawing  showing  the  effect  of  a  Noah's  flood 
at  the  lofty  site  of  Braemore  House  ;  then  in  the 
year  following  the  names  of  Mr.  Samuel  Morley 
and    Sir    William    Harcourt    appear    in    the    book, 


246  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

on  which  occasion  great  pains  were  taken  by  Mr. 
Morley's  host  to  make  him  thoroughly  understand 
the  difference  between  the  restricted  capabilities  of 
a  mountainous  Highland  estate  and  the  wild  state- 
ments given  to  the  world  by  his  Radical  friends 
of  hundreds  of  thousands  of  acres  kept  out  of 
cultivation,  and  withdrawn  from  civilisation,  for  the 
benefit  of  the  deer  and  the  indulgence  of  the 
sporting  proclivities  of  the  wealthy  Conservative. 
Mr.  Samuel  Morley,  having  been  blessed  with  a 
liberal  share  of  common  sense  and  quick  perception, 
soon  recognised  the  hollowness  of  these  most 
fancifully  erroneous  assertions,  and  so  much  was  this 
the  case  that  at  the  present  time  Mr.  Arnold 
Morley,  his  son,  is  himself  a  keen  forest-renting 
stalker.  In  1873  Sir  William  Harcourt  wrote  the 
following  lines  in  the  Braemore  book,  and  while 
those  who  are  of  his  political  way  of  thinking 
can  find  no  fault  with  them,  the  sentiments  so 
prettily  expressed  are  likely  enough  to  cause  a  kinder 
feeling  for   the    "big   man"    in   the   hearts   of  those 


ROSS-SHIRE.  247 


who,  like  myself,    most  widely  differ   with  his  views 
political : — 

"  When  the  dull  dreary  session  is  over, 
And  Patriots  twaddle  no  more, 
How  blithely  I  breathe  the  brave  breezes 
Which  blow  round  the  braes  of  Braemore. 

"  Though  '  The  Broom '  like  our  Gladstone  meanders, 
Or  foams  down  w'th  froth  in  a  spate ; 
Though  the  stalker,  like  Dizzy,  in  ambush 
For  his  prey  is  aye  lying  in  wait ; 

"  Yet  here  may  we  cast  away  care, 
And  reck  not  of  sorrow  or  strife ; 
But  in  jollity,  friendship,  and  love, 
Rest  awhile  from  the  labour  of  life. 

"  How  sweetly  the  years  fleet  away ! 

Seven  summers  are  gone — aye,  and  more — 
Since  I  first  viewed  with  wonder  and  joy 
The  beautiful  Strath  of  Braemore. 

"  Yet  here,  as  the  summers  return. 

Midst  friendships  so  faithful  and  true, 
I  find  kindness  which  never  knows  change, 
And  beauties  that  ever  are  new." 

In  1874  Earl  Cairns,  then  Lord  Chancellor  of 
England,  first  visited  Braemore,  and  during  this 
time   the   official    "Chaff-wax"   came   to   obtain   the 


248  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

Chancellor's  seal  to  official  documents,  when  Sir 
W.  Harcourt  wrote  the  following  description  of  the 
incident : — 

"  Braemore,  Sept.  28,   1874. 

"  A  singular  scene  occurred  one  evening,  there 
being  occasion  to  affix  the  Great  Seal,  which  the 
Lord  Chancellor  always  keeps  in  his  own  custody, 
to  authorize  patents.  The  official  '  Chaff-wax '  was 
busily  occupied  in  melting  the  wax  in  the  covered 
court  where  the  deer  are  brought  home,  and  it  thus 
happened  that  by  lamp  light  the  unusual  spectacle 
was  observed  of  the  solemnity  of  sealing  being  per- 
formed in  the  centre  of  a  group  of  ponies  laden  with 
the  Chancellor's  dead  deer.  We  are  unhappily  left 
to  imagine  how  the  pencil  of  Landseer  would  have 
illustrated  so  novel  a  Highland  picture." 

Beneath  these  remarks  Lord  Cairns  wrote  as 
follows  : — 

"  About  this  date  a  great  seal  was  for  the  first 
time  seen  on  this  part  of  the  coast,  and  was  allowed 
to   depart,    not   only   unmolested,    but   thankful   and 


ROSS-SHIRE.  249 


happy,  carrying  away  impressions  of  Braemore  more 
lasting  than  any  which  it  made  while  there." 

The  area  of  ground  under  strict  forest  is  23,000 
acres,  nearly  surrounded  by  the  deer  lands  of 
Strathvaich,  Inverlael,  Kinloch-luichart,  Fannich,  and 
Dundonnell.  In  1865  and  1866,  upwards  of  five  million 
trees  were  planted  on  the  eastern  slope  of  the  valley, 
which  have  now  grown  into  a  good  plantation  of 
1,000  acres.  The  sanctuary  on  the  western  extremity 
of  the  forest  covers  some  2,500  acres,  and  holding 
in  itself  shelter,  solitude,  and  fine  grazing,  it  makes 
an  unusually  good  one,  for  in  addition  to  its  self- 
contained  capabilities,  the  deer  are  also  within  easy 
reach  of  the  grassy  slopes  of  Beinn-Aonaclair,  on 
which  they  can  take  their  fill  during  the  night, 
and  ere  day  breaks  regain  the  loneliness  of  the 
sanctuary.  The  highest  ground  on  the  estate  is 
at  the  summit  of  Beinn  Dearg,  3,547  feet  above 
the  sea  level,  but  there  are  many  other  surrounding 
hills  which  rise  to  nearly  3,000  feet.  From  the 
period  of  afforesting  in   1865,  the   average   kill   has 

2   K 


250  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 


been  sixty  stags  a  season,   all  of  which  are  got  by 
fair    stalking,    and    though    a   greater    number   could 
be  obtained,   yet  as  sixty   is    considered    the   proper 
quantity,  it    is    never   exceeded,    except   perhaps   by 
one   or  two,  while  the  average   weight,  in  which  all 
small  beasts  are  included,  works  out  at  14  stone  clean. 
In    1868,    Major   Holmes  had    the   good    fortune    to 
secure    a    very    fine    royal    head   with    most   perfect 
symmetrical     equality     of     both     horns,     and    when 
Mackay,    the    Inverness    taxidermist,    returned    it    to 
Braemore,    he   volunteered   the  information  that  "  it 
was   the  finest  head  of  many  thousands  which  have 
passed  through  my  hands  in  modern  times."      This 
head  had  a  span  of  i']\  inches  outside  measurement, 
with  a  circumference  of  6\  inches  round  the  coronet, 
the   horns   measuring  26  inches    in   height,  taking  a 
straight  line  from  the  centre  of  the  forehead. 

Mr.  Robert  Fowler,  Sir  John's  brother,  met  with 
a  remarkable  adventure  when  stalking  in  Braemore, 
the  like  of  which  I  have  never  heard  of.  He  and 
McHardy,    the  head   forester,    who   has   been   there 


ROSS-SHIRE.  251 


upwards   of  thirty    seasons,  having  got  up  to  some 
stags,    Mr.   Fowler   fired   both   barrels,    killing   dead 
with   the  first,  but  wounding  only  with    the  second. 
On    walking    up    to    the    dead    quarry,    they    were 
greatly    surprised    to   see    another  beast  lying  quite 
close   by  him ;    their   first   impression   was   that   the 
one    bullet    had    been    fatal    to    the    two,    but    on 
nearer   inspection  it  was  seen,  by   the   rise   and   fall 
of    his  sides  in   breathing,    that    this   stag   was    not 
only  alive,  but  totally  unhurt,  and  merely  indulging 
in  a  very  sound   sleep.     After  watching  him   for   a 
few   minutes,    it    was    decided    to    try   to    catch    him, 
for   he    was   but   a   three-year-old   staggie,    and   not 
worth    putting    into    the    larder,    so    simultaneously 
master  and  man  seized  him  by  the  hind  legs,  when 
after  a  sharp  but  short  struggle  the  stag  broke  loose, 
which  was  indeed  a  pity,  as  I  believe   the   capture 
of  a   stag  in  such   a   manner  would   have   been   an 
unequalled   performance,    and   had    Mr.    Fowler  and 
McHardy  only  seized  hold  of  a  horn  apiece  instead 
of  a  leg,   it  is  more   than  likely   they   would   have 


252  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

been  triumphant,  for  even  one  strong,  heavy, 
resolute  man  getting  such  a  hold  of  a  stag  has 
him  at  a  great  disadvantage,  as  the  longer  the 
horn  the  greater  the  leverage  offered  for  twisting 
his  neck.  It  was  a  curious  coincidence  that  Mr. 
Arthur  Fowler,  Sir  John's  son,  later  on  also  surprised 
a  sleeping  stag,  and  got  within  a  yard  or  two  of 
him  before  the  beast  woke.  Braemore  Forest  will 
carry  two  rifles  each  day,  although  when  the  wind 
is  in  the  east  greater  care  is  required  than  when 
it  blows  from  any  other  quarter ;  this,  however,  is 
generally  the  case  all  over  Scotland,  there  being 
some  peculiar  property  in  a  sharp  east  wind  that  will 
often  make  deer  very  restless,  and  indeed  at  such 
times  they  will  gallop  off  at  full  tilt  for  no  dis- 
cernible reason.  The  whole  of  this  forest  is  so 
scattered  with  huge  boulders,  big  stones,  and  rocks, 
that  a  grey  cloth  similar  to  "  The  Black  Mount 
Mixture"  is  best  suited  to  the  ground.  Remains 
of  whiskey  stills  are  here,  as  in  other  forests,  pretty 
numerous   on   the    hills,    though    perhaps    the    most 


ROSS-SHIRE.  253 


interesting  relics  of  olden  days  are  the  mounds  of 
scoriae,  found  in  spots  where  iron  was  smelted  on  a 
small  scale  to  provide  the  rude  weapons  of  the 
ancient  inhabitants.  These  mounds  are  common  in 
many  parts  of  Ross-shire,  and  in  those  days  there 
was  doubtlessly  sufficient  wood  for  smelting  the  small 
quantity  required,  but  as  there  is  no  iron  ore  on 
or  anywhere  near  the  spot,  the  question  naturally 
arose  as  to  whence  it  came.  When  Sir  William 
Siemens  was  at  Braemore,  he  was  greatly  interested 
in  this  problem,  and  after  a  very  elaborate  investi- 
gation by  chemical  analysis,  he  came  to  the  conclusion 
that  the  north  of  Ireland  was  the  only  place  capable 
of  furnishing  the  particular  ore  which,  when  smelted, 
would  form  the  scoriae  he  had  analyzed. 

Although  eagles  are  strictly  preserved  in  this  and 
the  surrounding  forests,  and  though  they  do  not 
diminish  in  numbers,  yet  certainly  they  do  not 
increase,  and  probably  as  long  as  high  prices  are 
offered  for  their  eggs  they  are  not  likely  to.  Near 
Braemore    House    are    three  ancient  stones   placed 


254  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

eighteen  feet  apart,  the  spot  being  called  "  Rory's 
Leap,"  after  a  fine,  active,  gigantic  fellow  who  had 
a  home  and  wife  at  Ullapool,  although  he,  being  of 
a  restless,  unruly  nature,  was  generally  to  be  found 
in  Perth,  where  he  was  ultimately  put  in  prison 
to  keep  him  quiet.  Just  at  that  time  there  was 
living  in  Perth  a  quarrelsome,  giant  Frenchman  of 
whom  the  people  were  much  afraid,  and  it  was 
suggested  that  Big  Rory  of  Ullapool  should  be 
released  and  introduced  to  the  foreigner,  which 
being  done,  the  two  quickly  came  to  loggerheads, 
when  Rory,  challenging  the  bully,  killed  him  in  fair 
fight — an  act  for  which  he  received  a  permanent 
pardon,  whereupon,  like  a  good  husband,  he  started 
away  for  home,  and  arriving  at  this  particular  spot 
of  "  Rory's  Leap,"  on  catching  sight  of  his  native 
village,  he  was  so  overjoyed  that  he  gave  three 
tremendous  bounds  forward,  each  of  them  covering 
eighteen  feet,  which  splendid  performance,  inspired  by 
ardent  affection,  has  been  remembered  from  that  day 
to   this,    and   the   stones   placed   on  the  exact  spots 


ROSS-SHIRE.  255 


indicated  by  his  heel-marks  still  keep  this  great  deed 
fresh  in  the  memories  of  the  dwellers  in  and  around 
Ullapool.     The  old  road  alluded  to  in  the  "  Statistical 
Account  of  Scodand,"   published  in   1845,  by  Black- 
wood,   passed    through    Braemore    for    about    eleven 
miles,   and   until    its    construction    nearly   a    hundred 
years    ago    no    road,    except    a     shepherd's    track, 
existed  between  the  Cromarty  Firth  on  the  east  coast 
and  Loch  Broom  on  the  west  coast.     In  many  parts 
of  this  road  the  bends  and  angles  were  so  sharp  that 
it  seemed  an  impossibility  for  anything  on  wheels,  as 
we  understand  them,  to  be  taken  round  such  abrupt 
curves,  but  in  "  Burt's  Letters  from  the  Highlands  of 
Scotland,"  in  1754,  there  are  drawings  of  carts  in  use 
at  that  time,  very  small  in  size  and  with  wheels  not 
more  than  a  foot  in  diameter,  which  would  obviously 
be  able  to  turn  at  any  angle,  however  sharp.     It  was 
not  till  about  forty  years  ago  that  the  excellent  mail 
coach  road  was  made  that  now  runs  through  Braemore 
to   Garve.     The  wild  cat,  the  pine  marten  or  sable, 
as  well  as  the  pole  cat,   together   with  badgers   and 


2S6  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

Otters,    are   still   in    Braemore,    but   all  three  of  the 
former  animals  have  become  very  rare. 

The   hedgehog   is   quite   a   recent   visitor,    and   is 
supposed    to    have    been    imported    in    baled    hay ; 
foxes,    as   in   other  forests,  are  much  too  numerous, 
the  annual  kill   of  old  and  young  being  some  fifty. 
Then   coming    down    to    "  small   deer,"   the   natives 
assert  that  the  old   British  black  rat  still  exists,  an 
animal  much  to  be  preferred  to  his  ordinary  brother 
of  every-day  life.     In  January,   1892,   Braemore  and 
the  adjacent  county  was  visited  by  a  flood,  scarcely 
less  destructive  to  roads,  bridges,  and  river-beds  than 
the  great  Morayshire  flood  of  1829,  so  vividly  described 
by  Sir  Thomas  Dick  Lauder.     On  January  2nd  snow 
began  to  fall  in  the  Braemore  district,  and  continuing 
nearly  incessantly  until  the  8th,  an  average  depth  of 
nearly  two  feet  was  accumulated,  while  the  drifts  on 
the  hills  and  in  the  valleys  were  of  course  of  a  far 
greater  profundity  ;  all  wheeled  traffic  became  entirely 
suspended,  and  the  mails  were  carried  on  horseback. 
On    the    1 6th    a    gentle    thaw    set    in,     continuing 


ROSS-SHIRE.  257 


until   the    27th,   when   a   much   warmer   temperature 
with    a    high    wind    was    followed   by   extraordinary 
torrents  of  rain.     It  was  in  the  midst  of  the  pitch- 
dark  night  of  the  28th  that  the  dwellers  in  the  Loch 
Broom    strath    were    woke  from    their  sleep  by  the 
alarming  roaring  of  the  river  Broom,  which  told  them, 
only  too  plainly,  that  a  flood  of  unusual  violence  was 
raging.     The  morning  light  exhibited  the  valley  in 
a  plight  that  will  never  be  forgotten  ;  the  whole  strath 
was  one  vast  lake  ;    Inverbroom    House  with  many 
smaller   ones   were   half    submerged   by   the   tearing 
flood,  on  which  great  trees,  together  with  the  bodies 
of  cattle,  sheep,  and  deer,  were   borne   along  at  in- 
tervals, while  for  weeks  afterwards  the  road  between 
Loch  Broom  and  Garve  was  rendered  nearly  useless, 
as   every  bridge   on   it   had   been   washed   away,   so 
that  passengers  progressed  but  slowly  from  point  to 
point  only  by  exchanging  conveyances  at  every  broken 
bridge. 

The   history  of  the    Braemore   plantation,  already 
mentioned  as  holding  five  million  trees,  and  covering 

2   L 


258  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

one  thousand  acres,  may  be  of  use  to  forest  owners 
contemplating    the    formation    of    woods.     The    one 
under   discussion    was    planted    in     1865-6,    on    the 
eastern    slope    of    the    valley    of    the    Broom,    and 
commencing  at  an  elevation  of  but  fifty  feet  above 
the  sea,  it  rises  to  an  altitude  of  one  thousand  feet. 
The  trees  are  chiefly  Scotch  pine  and  larch,  although 
in    the  best  soil,   on    the  lower  ground,   a  variety  of 
hard  wood  trees  were  put  in,  such  as  ash,  oak,  elm, 
copper   beech,    birch,    maple,    sycamore,    rowan,    and 
chestnut,  each  being  given   a  chance  of  seeing  how 
they  would  fare  in  the  Braemore  soil.     The  height  of 
the  now  thirty-year-old  trees  varies  from  a  maximum 
of  fifty-one  feet,  a  larch,  to  a  minimum  of  fifty  inches 
in  height,  with  a  maximum  girth  of  sixty-six  inches 
to    a   minimum    of  six    inches.      This   extraordinary 
variation   is  due   to   the    richness    of  the   low    level 
soil  as  compared  with  nearly  total  absence  of  any  soil 
at  all   at   the  highest   points.     The  deer  were  kept 
strictly  out   of  this   plantation   until    the   trees    had 
reached  a  height  of  about  fifteen  feet,  when  they  were 


ROSS-SHIRE.  259 


admitted  to  all  parts  of  it,  greatly  to  their  gain  in 
the  luxuries  of  deer  life.  Alder,  Scotch  fir,  birch, 
aspen  poplar,  and  holly  are  indigenous  to  Braemore, 
and  all  these  self-planted  trees  are  found  in  places 
suited  to  their  requirements.  Speculation  has  ever 
been  rife  as  to  how  the  vast  ancient  forests  dis- 
appeared, which  at  one  time  so  evidently  covered 
so  much  of  the  ground  that  is  now  heather  and  moss, 
and  the  following  remarkable  letter  appears  to  offer 
a  better  and  simpler  solution  of  the  problem  than 
any  other  explanation  of  the  matter. 

Extract    of    a    Letter    from    George,    Earl    of 
Cromartie,  to  Dr.  Hans  Sloane,  Secy.  R.  Soc. 

November  i2>^h,   17 10. 

"In  the  year  1651,  I  being  then  about  nineteen 
years  old,  and  occasionally  in  the  parish  of  Lochbrun 
(Lochbroom),  passing  from  a  place  called  Achnascaild 
in  Dundonnell  to  Gruinard,  I  went  by  a  very  high 
hill,  which  did  rise  in  a  constant  steepness  from  thence 
to  the  sea ;  there  is  a  plain  about  half  a  mile  round. 


26o  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 


and  from  it  the  hill  rises  in  a  constant  steepness  for 
more  than  a  mile  in  ascent. 

"  This  little  plain  was  at  that  tine  all  covered  over 
with  a  firm  standing  wood,  which  was  so  very  old  that 
not  only  the  trees  had  no  green  leaves,  but  the  bark 
was  totally  thrown  off;  which  the  old  countryman, 
who  was  in  my  company,  told  me  was  the  universal 
manner  in  which  fir  woods  did  terminate,  and  that  in 
twenty  or  thirty  years  after  the  trees  would  ordinarily 
cast  themselves  up  from  the  root,  and  that  they  would 
lie  in  heaps  till  the  people  would  cut  them  and  carry 
them  away.  They  likewise  did  let  me  see  that  the 
outside  of  these  standing  white  trees,  and  for  the 
space  of  one  inch  inwards,  was  dead  white  timber,  but 
what  was  within  that  was  good  solid  timber  to  the 
very  pith,  and  as  full  of  rozin  as  it  could  stand  in  the 
wood.  Some  fifteen  years  after  I  had  occasion  to 
come  the  same  way,  and  called  to  mind  the  old  woods 
which  I  had  seen.  Then  there  was  not  so  much  as 
a  tree,  or  appearance  of  the  root  of  any  kind,  but  in 
the  place  thereof,  the  whole  bounds  where  the  wood 


ROSS-SHIRE.  261 


had  Stood,  was  all  over  a  plain  green  ground,  covered 
with  a  plain  green  moss.  I  asked  the  country  people, 
who  were  with  me,  what  had  become  of  the  wood,  and 
who  carried  it  away.  They  told  me  that  nobody  was 
at  the  pains  to  carry  it  away,  but  that,  it  being  all 
overturned  from  the  roots  by  the  winds,  the  trees  did 
lie  so  thick  and  swarving  over  one  another  that  the 
green  moss  there  (in  the  British  language  called  fog) 
had  overgrown  the  whole  timber,  which  they  said  was 
occasioned  by  the  moisture  that  came  down  from  the 
high  hill  which  was  above  it,  and  did  stagnate  upon 
that  plain ;  and  they  said  none  could  pass  over  it, 
because  the  scurf  of  the  fog  would  not  support  them. 
I  would  needs  try  it,  and  accordingly  I  fell  in  to 
the  armpits,  but  was  immediately  pulled  up  by  them. 

"  Before  the  year  1699  that  piece  of  ground  was 
turned  into  a  common  moss,  where  the  country  people 
were  digging  turf  and  peat,  and  continue  to  do  so. 
The  peats,  as  yet,  are  not  of  the  best,  and  are  soft  and 
spungy,  but  grow  better  and  better,  and,  as  I  am 
informed,  it  does  now  afford  good  peats. 


262  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

"  This  matter  of  fact  did  discover  the  generation 
of  mosses,  and  whence  it  is  that  many  mosses  are 
furnished  with  such  timber." 

From  the  Philosophical  Transactions  of  the  Royal  Society. 
Number  330.     (April,  May  and  June,  17  n.) 

The  Forest  of  Braemore  having  offered  the  use 
of  such  a  splendid  name  to  conjure  with  as  that 
of  the  late  distinguished  geologist,  Sir  Roderick 
Murchison,  the  author  feels  it  would  be  throwing 
away  a  chance  if  he  failed  to  avail  himself  of  the 
opportunity  of  saying  something  about  the  geology 
of  Braemore  which  will  apply  equally  to  all  the 
forests  of  the  west  coat,  as  well  as  to  many  of 
those  on  the  east.  The  whole  of  this  ground 
belongs  then  to  the  Upper  Gneiss  or  Lower 
Silurian  series  of  rocks,  which  are  stratified,  and 
at  the  synclinal  and  anti-synclinal  ridges  are  flexured 
and  contorted  in  a  very  remarkable  manner.  The 
composition  of  the  rocks  is  quartz,  felspar,  and  mica, 
which  in  some  parts  is  highly  garnetiferous.  Where 
it  takes  the  form  of  mica  slate  it  splits  into  laminae 


ROSS-SHIRE.  263 


of  such  regularity  and   thickness  as  to   be  valuable 
for  the  floors  of  houses  and  the  roofing  of  buildings, 
although    being    laminated    and    not    amorphous,    it 
cannot    be    utilised    for    the    corners    of    structures 
requiring    sharp    regular   edges.     One    characteristic 
of    the    Gneiss    and    Mica    Schist    formation   is  the 
production    of    abrupt    deep    ravines,    and     in    the 
Coire  Hallach    Ravine   and    Falls   in    Braemore   the 
depth  is  250  feet,   while  in  the  narrowest  part  the 
width    does    not    exceed   60    feet.     No    fossils   have 
been  found  in  this  portion  of  the  Silurian  rocks,  or 
in  the  lower  parts  of  the  Silurian  series,  except  in 
the  Laurentian  Gneiss,  and  then  only  the  somewhat 
mythical  "  Eozoon." 

The  same  reasons  which  have  induced  the  author 
to  mention  a  little  of  the  geology  of  the  west  coast 
have  also  led  him  to  dip  lightly  into  a  short  de- 
scription of  the  flora  of  this  district,  and  for  all 
information  on  this  head  he  is  indebted  to  the 
kindness  of  Mrs.  Arthur  Fowler,  who  is  herself  an 
ardent  botanist.      Nearly  all  the  commoner  varieties 


=64  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

of  British  field  flowers  may  be  met  with  in  the 
Braemore  meadows,  but  many  less  familiar  species 
may  be  found,  amongst  which  the  following  are 
worthy  of  notice.  In  the  beds  of  the  burns  the 
earliest  of  the  spring  flowers  may  be  found  in  the 
Purple  Mountain  Saxifrage  {Saxi/rigis  oppostifolia), 
whose  rosy  bell  often  appears  before  the  end  of 
February,  while  the  hills  are  yet  white  with  snow. 

The    Rose    Bay   or    French   Willow    Herb  {Equi- 
lobrium    angusiifiolium)    is    still    occasionally    found, 
although  Macculloch,  writing  in  1824,  says  it  was  then 
very   plentiful  on    Loch   Broom.     The  Cloud    Berry 
[Rubus  chaemaemorus),  together  with  the  Dwarf  Gomel 
(Conms  snecica),    so   common   in    Norway,    are   both 
found  at  an  altitude  of  2,000  feet,  and  not  far  from 
the   same   spot   also   grows  the  Grass  of   Parnassus 
{Parnassi(B  palustris)  and  the  Water  Lobelia  {^Lobelia 
dortinamed).      The   Floating    Barweed  {Spargannum 
natatts),  a  plant  peculiar  to  the  north,  grows  in  the 
Home    Loch   near    Braemore    House.      A   patch   of 
the    rare    and    diminutive    trailing    Azalea    {Azalea 


ROSS-SHIRE.  265 


procumbens)  may  be  seen  on  one  of  the  highest 
hills,  while  nearer  the  sea-level  grows  the  Greater 
Skull -Cap,  Pale  Butterwort  and  sweet-scented 
Orchis,  together  with  the  tuberous  Bitter  Vetch, 
the  roots  of  which.  Pennant  says,  were  eaten  by 
the  Highlanders.  The  deep  ravines  of  Braemore 
are  the  homes  of  many  kinds  of  ferns,  such  as  the 
Black  Maiden  Hair  Spleenwort,  Green  Spleenwort, 
Brittle  Bladder  Fern,  Wilson's  Film  Fern,  Beech 
Fern,  and  Oak  Fern,  Only  on  one  occasion  has 
the  very  rare  Forked  Spleenwort  Fern  {Asplenhim 
septentrionale)  been  found,  when  some  ten  years 
ago  the  head  forester  brought  home  a  plant  of 
it  which  he  found  on  some  steep  rocks,  3000  feet 
over  the  sea  level,  and  indeed  at  these  high  altitudes 
grow  many  tiny  plants  that  have  not  as  yet  been 
accurately  identified. 

FOREST  OF  CLUNIE  BY  INVERGARRY. 

This  property  belongs  to  Mr.  J.   E.   B,   Baillie  of 
Dochfour,   and  was  occupied  for  upwards  of  twenty 

2   M 


266  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

years  in  conjunction  with  Glenquoich  by  Lord 
Burton.  It  is  at  present  let  to  Mr.  Frank  Bibby, 
together  with  the  grouse  ground  of  Ratagan,  which 
consists  of  about  10,000  acres,  on  which,  although 
wired  off  from  the  forest  proper,  there  are  always 
deer.  The  cleared  portion  consists  of  nearly  14,500 
acres  of  chiefly  high,  steep  ground,  several  of  the 
hills  being  over  3,000  feet ;  on  the  east  it  marches 
with  Caennocroc,  on  the  south  with  Glenquoich,  and 
on  the  north  with  Kintail.  The  tenant  is  bound 
not  to  kill  deer  after  the  1 2th  of  October,  and  limited 
to  fifty  stags,  which  have  the  reputation  of  weighing 
well. 

FOREST   OF   CORRIEHALLZIE   BY   BEAULY. 

This  is  a  nice  little  forest  of  some  7,000  acres  (in 
addition  to  which  there  is  a  fair  extent  of  grouse 
ground),  belonging  to  Mr.  Gillanders  of  Highfield, 
and  let  to  Mr.  G.  H.  Cheetham.  It  is  good  for 
ten  or  a  dozen  stags,  and  marches  with  Scatwell  on 
the    north,    with    sheep    ground    on    the    north-east, 


ROSS-SHIEE.  267 


Erchless    on    the   east,    Achany   on    the   south,    and 
Struy  and  Patt  on  the  west. 

FOREST    OF    CORRIEMULLZIE,    BRIDGE    OF    OYKEL. 

A  SMALL  recently  cleared  forest  of  fairly  steep 
and  grassy  ground,  with  a  very  bad  road  to  it  from 
Oykel  Bridge.  It  belongs  to  Mr.  W.  E.  Gilmour,  is 
at  present  let  to  Sir  Arthur  Chichester,  and  should 
yield  from  twenty  to  thirty  stags,  as  deer  from 
Rhidorrach,  Alladale,  and  Deanich  can  come  to 
and  from  it  as  they  choose. 

FOREST  OF  COULIN  BY  ACHNASHEEN. 

This  ground  formed  the  eastern  extremity  of  the 
great  Applecross  property,  purchased  some  fifty  years 
ago  by  the  late  Duke  of  Leeds  from  the  Mackenzie 
family ;  at  various  times,  later  on,  portions  of  this 
large  estate  were  sold  by  the  Duke,  Coulin,  which 
has  changed  hands  several  times,  being  amongst  the 
number.  Lord  Elphinstone  built  the  present  house, 
lying  between  Loch  Clair  and  Loch  Coulin,  when  he 


268  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

held  this  estate  some  thirty  years  ago  ;  after  keeping 

it    for   ten   years,   he    parted  with   it  to   Lord  Wim- 

borne,   who  in  his  turn  sold  it  some  five  years  back 

to  the  present   owner,   Mr.  J.   Ogilvie   Dalgleish,   of 

Errol  Park,  Perthshire.     This  gentleman,  in  addition 

to  greatly  improving  the  home  grounds,    roads,    and 

stalking  paths,  has  also  planted  about  800  acres    to 

improve  the  wintering.     The  extent  is  about   15,000 

acres,  the  high  ground  being  rocky  and  steep,  for  Ben 

Liath  Mhor  rises  to  3,051  feet,  while  all  portions  which 

are  under  1,000  feet  give  fine  feeding.     In  addition  to 

Coulin  proper  Mr.  Dalgleish  has  a  further  5,000  acres 

of  the  Kinlochewe  estate,  rented  from  Sir  Kenneth 

Mackenzie.     The    sanctuary    is    large    and    contains 

a    3,000  feet  hill,    quite   green   to   the  top,   with  the 

base  surrounded  by  birch  and  old  Scotch  fir,  offering 

warmth  and  shelter  in  all  winds. 

Coulin  marches  with  Achnashellach  on  the  south, 
Ben  Damph  on  the  west,  Torridon  on  the  north, 
and  Kinlochewe  on  the  east,  and  yields  from  thirty 
to    forty    stags,    according    to    the   season,    while   as 


JiOSS-SH/RE.  269 


the  grazing  is  extra  good,  some  unusually  heavy  ones 
are  got  each  year ;  they  are  weighed  clean  after 
being  left  on  the  hill  all  night,  and  in  1893  there  was 
one  of  23  stone,  another  of  22  stone  8  lbs.,  while 
the  average  weight  of  the  thirty-four  stags  put  into  the 
larder  in  that  year  was  15  stone  8  lbs.  Owing  to 
the  nearly  incessant  rains  of  1894,  the  condition  of 
the  deer  of  that  season  was  inferior,  the  heaviest 
stag  scaling  18  stone  10  lbs.,  with  the  average  a 
good  bit  below  that  of  1893.  The  ground  will  carry 
two  rifles  every  day,  all  deer  being  killed  by  stalking. 
On  the  "off  days"  salmon  and  sea  trout  are  a 
strong  point  at  Coulin,  as  they  come  up  out  of 
Lochmaree  into  Lochs  Clair  and  Coulin  in  great 
numbers. 

FOREST  OF  DEANICH  BY  ARDGAY. 

This  is  one  of  Sir  Charles  Ross's  forests,  which, 
marching  with  Inchbae,  Inverlael,  and  Strath vaich,  is 
let  together  with  Alladale  on  a  lease  to  Sir  Henry 
Bruce  Meux.     There  are  about  20,000  acres  of  fine 


270  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

Stalking  ground,  which  yield,  on  an  average,  forty 
stags  each  season,  having  a  mean  weight  of  1 5  stone 
7  lbs.,  weighed  clean. 

FOREST   OF    DIBIEDALE    BY   ARDGAY. 

This  ground,  with  an  area  of  11,000  acres,  cleared 
in  1849,  is  the  property  of  Sir  J.  Kenneth  Matheson, 
and  is  at  present  let  to  Sir  Greville  Smythe.  It  con- 
sists of  two  main  glens  running  parallel  east  and  west ; 
the  one  covered  for  the  greater  part  with  grass,  and 
known  as  Glen  Dibiedale,  the  other  with  heather  and 
patches  of  birch  wood,  and  called  Corrievaligan,  the 
west  end  of  which  is  of  a  rocky  nature,  interspersed 
with  mosses. 

On  the  south  it  marches  with  Kildermorie,  on  the 
west  with  Inchbae,  on  the  north-west  with  Alladale, 
and  on  the  east  comes  the  grouse  moor  that  goes 
with  Dibiedale.  There  is  a  well-placed  sanctuary  of 
2,000  acres.  The  highest  hills  are  Cairn  Coinneag 
(2,749  ft.),  "the  conical  hill,"  a  coinneag  being 
a   conical-shaped   wooden  cup  used  in  old  days  for 


ROSS-SHIRE.  VJl 


drawing  water;  "  Beinn  Tarsuinn "  (2,330  ft.)  lies 
across  and  at  right  angles  to  the  two  glens  already 
mentioned,  and  hence  the  name,  which  is  Gaelic  for 
"across."  The  first  tenant  of  this  forest  was  the 
well-known  Horatio  Ross,  who  held  it  from  1849  to 
1865  ;  then  from  1866  to  1875  the  owner,  Sir 
Alexander  Matheson,  kept  it  in  his  own  hands, 
when,  in  1875,  Sir  Robert  Loder  took  a  lease  of  the 
forest,  and  his  average  kill  for  ten  years  was  thirty- 
nine  stags,  the  greatest  number  got  in  any  one  year 
being  fifty.  In  1887  the  forest  was  taken  by  the 
present  tenant,  that  good  sportsman,  Sir  Greville 
Smythe,  who  has  made  a  large  collection  of  heads  on 
it,  the  finest  of  which  is  a  grand  thirteen-pointer, 
followed,  however,  by  many  royals. 

FOREST   OF   DRUMRUNIE,    OR   COULMORE,    BY   ULLAPOOL. 

One  of  the  properties  of  the  Countess  of  Cromartie, 
afforested  in  1876,  and  let  to  Mr.  Sydney  Piatt  of 
Bryn-y-Neuadd,  Llanfairfechan.  It  has  an  area  of 
35,000  acres  of  very  precipitous,  steep,  rocky  ground, 


272  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

but  with  corries  full  of  good  grazing,  while  the  numbers 
of  the  lochs  are  almost  uncountable.     On  the  north  it 
marches  with  Glencanisp,  on  the  west  with  the  sheep 
grounds  of  Inverpolly  and  Coigach,  on  the  east  with 
Rhidorrach,  and  on  the  south  with  other  sheep  walks. 
On  the  north  side  of  the  hill  of  Coulmore  (2,700  ft.), 
"  big  shoulder,"  is  the  "  Green  Corrie,"  which  is  kept 
as   a   sanctuary,  and   as   the    nature   of    the    ground 
renders   stalking    in    it   nearly   an    impossibility,    this 
corrie  is  sometimes  "moved"  towards  the  end  of  the 
season.     It  carries    two  rifles,  with  a   limited   kill  of 
forty-five  stags,  which  average  close  on  1 5  stone  clean. 
It   was   a  most  remarkable   thing  that  Mr.    Piatt, 
although  the  renter  of  various  good  forests  since  1882, 
only  got  his  first   shot   at   a  royal   in    this    forest    in 
1893,    under    the  following    curious  circumstances: — 
Mr.    Piatt    found    his   quarry    early    in    the    day     in 
company   with    several    other    good    stags,    and    his 
stalker   at   once   declared   the  royal  to  be   a  newly- 
arrived  stranger,  for  he  was  restless,  uneasy,  declining 
to   settle   with    the  others,    and   keeping  always   on 


ROSS-SHIRE.  273 


the  move.  The  party  followed  him  all  day,  until  at 
length  he  lay  down  close  to  the  Glencanisp  march, 
from  out  of  which  forest  he  had  no  doubt  come.  It 
was  then  past  six  o'clock,  with  naturally  a  rapidly 
fading  light,  so  there  was  nothing  for  it  but  to 
"whistle  him  up,"  when  Mr.  Piatt  brought  off  a 
shot  which  rarely  succeeds,  killing  him  dead  at  two 
hundred  yards, 

FOREST   OF    DUNDONNELL   BY   ULLAPOOL. 

A  FOREST  of  Mr.  H.  Mackenzie's,  rented  last  season 
by  Mr.  Wythes  of  Copped  Hall,  Essex,  It  covers 
some  23,000  acres  of  very  rough,  precipitous  stony 
ground,  with  the  highest  altitude  reached  at  nearly 
3,500  feet,  and  over  the  whole  of  it  the  walking  is  very 
severe.  In  season  1891,  fifty-one  stags  were  killed, 
with  an  average  weight  of  1 3  stone  7  lbs,  clean  ;  but 
whether  this  number  accurately  represents  the  yearly 
average  for  the  last  few  seasons  I  am  not  able  to  say. 


2   N 


274  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 


FOREST    OF    FANNICH    BY    LOCHLUICHART. 

This  is  also  one  of  Mr.  H.  Mackenzie's  forests, 
extending  over  an  area  of  between  seventeen  and 
eighteen  thousand  acres,  on  which  the  highest  ground 
rises  to  3,600  feet.  Lord  Ormathwaite,  and  then  the 
late  Sir  Robert  Harvey,  both  held  this  forest  for  several 
years,  and  had  good  sport  in  it ;  recent  clearances, 
however,  having  offered  the  deer  of  these  parts  finer, 
fresher  grazing,  Fannich  has  suffered  somewhat 
by  the  formation  of  the  new  forests.  From  the 
top  of  this  high  hill,  which  is  the  backbone  of 
Fannich  and  divides  Corrie  Bheag  from  Corrie  Rioch, 
the  sea  can  often  be  seen  on  either  side,  and  here, 
at  an  elevation  of  about  3,000  feet,  is  a  stone 
shelter,  put  up  by  the  late  Sir  Robert  Bateson 
Harvey.  The  ground  carries  two  rifles,  and  is  most 
difficult  to  stalk  on,  as,  owing  to  the  punch-bowl  shape 
of  many  of  the  corries,  the  wind  always  blows  in 
eddies.  In  this  season  of  1895  '^  was  rented  by 
Mr.  Taylor,   in  conjunction  with  the  adjacent  forest 


ROSS-SHIRE.  275 


of  Kinlochluichart,  and  "  The  Field,"  without  mention- 
ing weights,  states  he  got  twenty-five  stags  on  it. 
In  connection  with  this  forest  there  is  the  story 
of  the  "  wild  man  of  Fannich,"  which  has  given 
rise  to  the  supposition  that  it  is  our  clothes  and 
not  our  bodies  that  give  that  taint  to  the  breezes 
which  the  deer  so  easily  scent  from  afar.  The  story 
of  the  wild  man  relates  how  a  "  softie "  of  those 
parts  escaped  from  his  friends,  at  the  end  of  one 
October,  and  his  crank  being  that  he  was  a  beast 
of  the  fields,  he  concealed  himself  in  a  cave  in 
Fannich,  and  after  divesting  himself  of  all  clothing, 
he  found  that  the  deer  soon  allowed  him  to 
approach,  and  eventually  to  herd  with  them. 
Here,  for  nearly  a  year,  this  mad  but  hardy 
being  remained  undiscovered  ;  but  his  body  became 
so  covered  with  hair,  and  so  matted  with  dirt,  that  it 
formed  a  kind  of  garment  for  him  ;  he  was  eventually 
discovered  by  a  stalking  party  in  the  midst  of  a  herd 
of  deer,  in  the  September  following  his  disappearance, 
and  being  captured,  was  returned  to  his  friends. 


276  THE   DEER    FORESTS   OF  SCOTLAND. 


FOREST    OF    FLOWERDALE    BY    GAIRLOCH. 

This  property,  of  some  10,000  acres,  belongs  to  Sir 
Kenneth  Mackenzie  of  Gairloch,  and  since  1874  it  has 
been  rented  by  Mr.  S.  W.  Clowes.  The  hill  of  Ben 
Dearg,  of  about  2,000  acres,  was  afforested  in  1847, 
the  remainder  of  the  ground  being  cleared  in  1877 
by  the  lessee,  who  made  paths,  tracks,  put  up 
foresters'  cottages,  built  stables  and  boathouses, 
at  a  considerable  outlay.  This  gentleman,  now 
unfortunately  a  victim  to  bad  health,  was  a  good 
specimen  of  the  "  all  round "  sportsman,  for,  in 
addition  to  being  master  of  the  Quorn,  a  good  game 
shot,  and  fisherman,  he  was  one  of  the  few  gentlemen 
who  could,  and  did,  stalk  and  gralloch  entirely  for 
himself ;  while,  moreover,  he  was  one  of  the  very  first 
to  use  the  double-barrelled  breech-loading  rifle  against 
deer.  Mr.  Clowes's  place  at  Flowerdale  is  now  taken 
by  his  son.  Captain  A.  H.  Clowes,  who  carries  on 
the  forest  in  the  same  way  that  his  father  did. 
Flowerdale   consists  chiefly  of    very    rocky    ground, 


HOSS-SH/RE.  277 


with  plenty  of  steep-sided  corries,  tiie  lower  parts 
of  which  are  covered  with  patches  of  very  long  old 
heather  and  pasture.  On  the  west  it  marches  with 
Shieldaig,  and  near  this  boundary  its  larch  wood  of 
Chosag  affords  good  wintering,  Torridon  comes  in  on 
the  south,  Kinlochewe  on  the  east,  and  then  the 
estate,  crossing  Loch  Maree,  runs  up  to  Letterewe  and 
Ardlair  on  the  north  and  north-east. 

The  highest  hills  are  Bein-an-Eoin,  "bird  or 
ptarmigan  hill  "  (2,801  ft.),  Bus-bhein  (2,869  ft-)  ^^'^ 
Ben  Dearg,  and  along  the  watershed  of  these  two 
last-named  hills  the  forest  march  runs  for  some  miles. 
The  ground  carries  one  rifle  until  the  last  fortnight  of 
the  season,  while  up  to  that  date  it  is  more  of  a  hind 
than  a  stag  forest.  The  total  kill  for  the  last  twelve 
years  has  been  exactly  203  stags,  or,  in  round  numbers, 
eighteen  per  annum,  the  heaviest  of  which  has 
scaled  18  stone,  while  the  average  weight  works  out 
at  but  12  stone  clean.  This  low  weight,  however, 
must  be  put  down  to  two  causes :  first,  everything 
with  horns   that   has  been   shot   has   been  weighed 


278  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

while    secondly,    owing    to    the    fact   of    a    number 
of  novices  at  stalking,  not  all   very   young,    having 
been  visitors  to  Flowerdale,  a  lot  of  small  beasts  have 
been  knocked  over  in  the  unrestrained  ardour  of  the 
new  hand,  backed  up  by  a  kindly  desire  on  the  part 
of  the  more  experienced  "to  blood"  the  novitiate  and 
make  him  a  stalker  for  the  rest  of  his  days.     At  one 
end  of  the  ground,  on  the  shore  of  Loch-na-h'Oidhche, 
"  lake    of    the     night,"    which    holds     heavy    brown 
trout,  there  is  a  fairly  good  bothy  for  the  use  of  those 
stalking  that  end  of  the  forest ;  it  has  been  christened 
"  Poch-a-biue,"   "  the  yellow   bag,"  and   is  interesting 
as  having  been   originally  built   by  an   Englishman, 
Captain  Inge,  some  time  in  the  thirties,  who  was  one 
of  the  very  first   of  the    Sassenachs   to  come   north 
in  search   of  sport   with   the   red  deer.     Before   this 
bothy   was   put   up   the   deerstalkers    used    to    sleep 
under  the  shelter  of  a  big  rock  close  by,  and  the  long 
heather  they  used  as  bedding  yet  remains  under  it. 
The  true   wild  cat — not  the  tame  cat  turned  wild — 
still  exists  in  this  part  of  Ross-shire.     Eagles  of  both 


u 

o 
< 

Q 
u 

< 

< 
u 


ROSS-SHIRE.  279 


sorts  are  yet  common,  and  in  relation  to  one  of  these 
birds  there  is  a  curious,  but  by  no  means  incredible, 
story  told  by  the  inhabitants  of  this  district,  to  the 
effect  that  an  eagle  having  swooped  down  on  the 
back  of  a  roe  buck  feeding  outside  a  wood,  the 
terrified  animal  dashed  back  to  the  thick  cover  in  the 
hope  of  shaking  off  his  assailant.  The  eagle  was 
nearly  swept  from  the  back  of  his  quarry  by  coming 
into  violent  contact  with  the  first  tree  past  which 
the  roe  dashed,  and  then,  as  attacked  and  attacker 
approached  another  tree,  the  eagle  gripped  the  stem 
with  one  of  his  claws,  while  keeping  his  hold  of 
the  roe  with  the  other.  So  great,  however,  was  the 
speed  and  impetus  of  the  maddened,  stampeding  roe, 
while  so  firm  was  the  hold  of  the  eagle,  that  the  bird 
was  split  up  and  torn  clean  asunder,  one  half  of  it 
remaining  firmly  fixed  to  the  tree,  while  the  other 
moiety  continued  to  hold  on  to  the  roe. 


28o  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

FOREST    OF    GLENCALVIE    BY   ARDGAY. 

This  forest,  formed  by  Mr.  Robertson  of  Kindeace, 
in  1845,  and  sold  by  him  to  the  present  owner,  Mr. 
William  Allis  Smith,  covers  close  on  5,000  acres  of 
good  ground,  which,  wedge-shaped  in  formation,  runs 
from  east  to  west  for  some  eight  miles  along  the 
adjacent  forests  of  Dibiedale  and  Alladale,  whilst  on 
the  north  and  south  it  meets  the  deer-grounds  of 
Deanich  and  Amat.  The  highest  ground  is  about 
2,300  feet;  Knock-na-tuppet,  "the  woman's  tippet," 
is  1,500  feet,  with  its  base  well  wooded  with  some 
four  hundred  acres  of  thick  cover,  in  which,  during 
hard  winters,  from  seven  to  nine  hundred  stags  gather 
together.  It  carries  one  rifle  comfortably  ;  the  deer 
are  killed  only  by  stalking,  and  will  average,  clean, 
13  stone  7  lbs.  ;  a  moderate  shot  will  get  20  beasts, 
and  a  better  one  30,  which  latter  number  the  owner 
got  this  season  of  1895.  On  this  estate  there  is  also 
good  salmon  fishing  in  the  Carron  and  Calvie,  for  in 
1893  Mr.  Allis  Smith  got  eighty  to  his  own  rod,  and 
in  1895  fifty-two. 


HOSS-SH/JiE.  281 


FOREST    OF    GLENCARRON    BY   ACHNASIIEEN. 

These  forests  of  Glencarron  and  Glenuaig,  or 
Glen  Fhiodhaig,  owned  by  Lord  Wimborne,  are 
situated  in  the  parishes  of  Lochcarron  and  CouHn, 
the  former  with  an  area  of  8,100  acres,  and  the 
latter  with  7,060  acres,  both  being  at  the  westerr 
end  of  Strathconan,  while  on  the  other  sidei 
are  the  forests  of  Achanalt,  Coulin,  Achnashellach, 
and  Monar.  The  average  kill  is  about  forty-five 
stags,  which,  with  heart  and  liver  included,  vary 
in  weight  from  fourteen  up  to  eighteen  stone.  The 
house  overlooks  the  Carron  river  (in  the  upper  part 
of  which  there  is  salmon  fishing),  and  has  the  advant- 
age of  a  private  station  on  the  Dingwall  and  Skye 
Railway,  within  a  few  minutes'  walk.  Some  of  the 
forest  hills  rise  to  over  3,000  feet,  while  many  of 
the  lower  slopes  are  covered  with  old  Scotch  fir 
and  natural  birch.  Loch  Sgamhain,  out  of  which 
the  Carron  flows,  signifies  "  Lungs "  in  Gaelic,  and 
a  somewhat  curious  legend  is  told  to  account  for  this 

2  o 


282  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

odd  name.  The  story  runs  that  some  children,  once 
playing  on  the  loch  shore,  seeing  an  animal  like  a  horse, 
climbed  on  to  its  back  for  a  ride  ;  one  by  one  they 
mounted,  but  as  each  seated  himself  on  the  beast  their 
fingers  stuck  fast  to  the  hide,  and  they  were  held 
prisoners,  while  the  animal  dashed  off  towards  the 
loch.  One  little  fellow  threw  himself  off,  only  to 
reach  the  ground  with  the  loss  of  his  fingers,  and 
then  running  off  home,  gave  the  alarm,  but  no  trace  of 
horse  or  the  other  children  could  be  found.  On  the 
following  morning,  however,  the  lungs  of  the  other 
boys  were  found  floating  on  the  loch,  and  hence  it 
took  its  name.  Like  many  other  parts  of  the  north, 
this  forest,  there  can  be  no  doubt,  was  formerly 
densely  wooded,  traces  of  old  trees  being  found  in 
all  parts,  but  how  or  when  these  woods  were  destroyed 
will  ever  remain  an  open  question,  although  in  the 
account  of  Braemore  Forest  there  will  be  found  a 
plausible  theory  for  their  disappearance. 


ROSS-SHIRE.  283 


FOREST    OF    GLENSHIELDAIG    BY    LOCH    CARRON. 

This  forest,  of  upwards  of  11,000  acres,  belongs 
to  Mr,  J.  S.  Murray,  and  lies  between  the  deer- 
grounds  of  Applecross  on  the  south-west,  and  those 
of  Ben  Damph  on  the  north-east.  I  have  not  been 
able  to  gather  any  particulars  of  the  number  of 
stags  killed,  but  whatever  that  may  be,  their  weights 
will,  in  all  probability,  be  the  same  as  those  of  the 
stags  of  the  two  adjacent  forests. 

FORESTS    OF    INCHBAE,    STRATHRANNOCH    AND     TOLMUICK, 

BY    CARVE. 

This  is  a  long  narrow  ground  of  about  21,000 
acres,  belonging  to  Mr.  W.  D.  Mackenzie,  of  Farr, 
and  contains  the  great  wood  of  Dhucaillie,  of  some 
5,000  acres  in  extent,  in  which  red,  fallow,  and  roe 
deer  dwell  together.  It  is  at  present  let  to 
Mr.  J.  C.  Williams,  who  joins  it  on  to  Strathvaich 
Forest,  which  he  has  held  since  1887.  This  gentle- 
man treats  both  places  in  a  thoroughly  sportsmanlike 
manner,    as    he   does    not    try   to   kill   an   excessive 


284  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

number  of  stags ;  he  stops  stalking  quite  early  in 
October,  rarely  killing  more  than  five  or  six  beasts 
in  that  month,  although  rightly  enough  he  pursues 
the  deer  with  energy  in  August  and  September, 
seldom  getting  less  than  twenty  fat  beasts  in  the 
first-named  month,  which  are  carefully  picked  for 
good  bodies  with  clean  horns,  and  for  many  seasons 
he  has  killed  fat  stags  prior  to  the  12th  of  August. 
In  season  '94  Mr.  Williams  watched  a  stag  finishing 
the  operation  of  getting  rid  of  his  velvet  on  the 
31st  of  July,  and  leaving  him  on  that  day  to  finish 
his  toilet  in  peace,  he  killed  him,  quite  free  of  velvet, 
on  the  4th  of  August.  From  the  two  forests  of 
Inchbae  and  Strathvaich  from  ninety  to  one  hundred 
stags  are  taken  each  season,  of  which  about  forty 
come  from  Inchbae.  The  tenant  does  not  have 
his  deer  weighed,  except  he  himself  sees  it  done, 
and  thus  only  the  big  ones  are  taken  to  the 
balance ;  these  are  weighed  with  heart  and  liver, 
and  17  to  18  stone  are  counted  good  stags,  while 
about  every  third  year  one  of  19  stone  is  got,  and 


ROSS-SHIRE.  285 


since  1887  only  one  has  turned  the  scale  at 
20  stone.  Mr.  Williams,  however,  spares  many 
of  the  finest  heads,  neither  does  he  permit  his 
foresters  to  pick  off  the  best  hinds  in  the  winter, 
and  by  these  means  he  has  greatly  improved  his 
stock  of  deer,  both  in  numbers  and  in  quality — 
an  example  which  more  of  the  forest  renters  might 
follow  with  advantage. 

In  1892  a  most  vexatious  piece  of  bad  luck 
happened  here  to  Mr.  Mackenzie,  when  in  the  dusk 
he  fired  at  a  stag  in  Glen  Kyllachy,  and  the  bullet 
striking  the  base  of  the  horn,  the  stag  escaped. 
Mr.  Mackenzie  having  had  this  stag  in  view  for  some 
time,  was  therefore  able  to  recognise  him  again 
three  days  later  in  Macleay's  shop  in  Inverness, 
when  he  turned  out  to  be  a  splendid  fourteen- 
pointer,  who  carried  the  mark  of  Mr.  Mackenzie's 
bullet  on  his  horn,  whilst  vexatlously  enough  the  beast 
proved  to  be  the  second  best  head  got  in  Scotland 
that  season. 


286  THE   DEER   FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 


FOREST   OF    INVERLAEL   AND   GLENBEG,    BY   LOCIIBROOM. 

This  estate  of  14,000  acres  of  forest,  cleared  in 
1882,  together  with  some  6,000  acres  of  grouse 
ground,  belongs  to  Sir  Arthur  Mackenzie,  and  is 
now  let  to  Mr.  A.  G.  Wood.  It  is  bounded  on  the 
west  by  Loch  and  River  Broom,  while  on  the  other 
sides  it  is  surrounded  by  the  forests  of  Braemore, 
Strathvaich,  Deanich,  and  Leckmelm. 

The  kill  of  stags  for  the  years  1890  and  1891 
was  respectively  34  and  29,  and  an  approximate 
guide  to  their  weights  may  be  gathered  by  referring 
to  those  obtained  in  the  surrounding  deer  grounds. 

FOREST    OF    KILDERMORIE    BY   ALNESS, 

A  FOREST  of  25,000  acres,  cleared  some  fifty 
years  ago,  belonging  to  Mr.  Walter  Shoolbred,  and 
purchased  by  him  in  1890  from  Mr.  Munro- 
Ferguson,  the  greater  part  being  let  to  his  brother, 
Mr.  Frederick  Shoolbred.  It  contains  some  high 
hills,    Carn    Chumineag   being   2,749   ^^^^    ^"^^    ^^^ 


ROSS-SHIRE.  287 


Ean  and  Mheal  Mhor  are  each  over  2,400  feet.  The 
low  ground  is  limited,  while  neither  wintering 
or  grazing  is  any  too  good,  as  there  are  vast 
stretches  of  moss  ground.  On  the  south  and 
south-west  it  marches  with  Wyvis  and  Inchbae, 
on  the  north-west  with  Dibiedale,  the  other  boundaries 
being  sheep  ground.  The  stalking  season  is  a  short 
one,  as  the  stags  do  not  come  into  Kildermorie 
in  large  numbers  until  they  are  seeking  the  hinds, 
so  that  the  kill  has  to  be  made  in  a  short  time, 
for  by  the  terms  of  the  lease  stalking  terminates 
on  the  loth  of  October,  the  usual  season's  total 
being  forty-five  to  fifty  stags,  weighing  an  average 
of  14  stone,  with  heart  and  liver. 

KINLOCHEWE    BY    ACHNASHEEN. 

Belongs  to  Sir  Kenneth  Mackenzie,  and  is  let 
to  Mr.  W.  M.  Cazalet.  There  are  20,000  acres  of 
cleared  ground  in  addition  to  a  large  extent  of  grouse 
shooting.  On  the  north  it  marches  with  Letterewe, 
the  east  and  north-east  boundaries  are  sheep  ground, 


288  THE   DEER   FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

Flowerdale  joins  it  on  the  west,  and  Torridon  and 
Coulin  on  the  south  and  south-west ;  it  is  very 
rocky,  steep  ground,  off  which  in  1895  thirty-five 
stags  were  killed. 

FOREST   OF    KINLOCH-LUICHART    BY   DINGWALL. 

This  forest,  the  property  of  Lady  Ashburton, 
my  map  of  the  deer  forests  puts  at  just  over  20,000 
acres,  but  from  other  good  sources  it  is  estimated 
at  from  42,000  to  45,000  acres,  including  some  10,000 
acres  of  grouse  ground.  It  marches  with  Fannich  on 
the  west,  with  Braemore  and  Strathvaich  on  north  and 
north-east,  with  sheep  ground  on  the  east,  and  Achanalt 
on  the  south.  The  house,  barely  a  mile  from  the 
station,  is  finely  placed,  looking  over  Loch  Luichart 
and  on  to  some  of  the  highest  hills  of  the  forest, 
which  rise  to  3,000  feet.  It  is  a  long  narrow  estate, 
with  a  flat  boggy  strath  running  through  it,  a  give  and 
take  ground,  off  which  the  deer  are  easily  shifted  and 
equally  as  easily  put  on  to  from  the  adjacent  forests, 
a  matter  which  renders   the   stalking  more   exciting 


ROSS-SHIRE.  289 


and  difficult  than  is  the  case  when  the  sport  is 
pursued  on  places  with  a  squarer  formation.  There 
is  one  very  large  fine  corrie  kept  as  a  sanctuary  which 
is  always  full  of  good  stags  at  the  beginning  of  the 
season,  so  that  on  the  management  of  this  corrie 
depends  a  great  deal  of  the  Kinloch-Luichart  sport. 
Should  it  be  left  quite  quiet  and  no  disturbance 
made  near  it  until  the  stags  begin  to  break  out 
in  small  parties  to  seek  the  hinds,  then  a  good  few 
of  these  big  fellows  may  be  got,  but  on  the  other 
hand,  should  there  by  any  mischance  be  any  dis- 
turbance of  this  corrie  earlier  in  the  season,  then 
away  go  the  bulk  of  its  occupants  to  the  grounds 
of  Strathvaich  and  Achanalt,  which  they  seem  to 
prefer  to  those  of  Fannich  or  Braemore  on  the 
west  and  north.  In  the  season  of  1892  thirty-seven 
good  beasts  were  got,  the  heaviest  of  which  was 
17  stone,  while  the  lot  averaged  15  stone  clean.  In 
1895  Mr.  Taylor  had  this  forest  in  conjunction  with 
Fannich,  and  "The  Field"  states  his  total  kill  was 
fifty-seven  stags,  but  does  not  mention  any  weights. 

2  p 


290  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 


FOREST    OF    LECKMELM    BY    LOCII    BROOM. 

This  property,  of  about  10,000  acres,  belongs  to 
Mr.  A.  G.  Pirie,  who  purchased  it,  in  1879,  from 
Colonel  Davidson  of  Tulloch,  and  commencing  to 
clear  it  in  1882,  he  has  always  retained  it  in  his 
own  hands.  It  lies  on  the  north  side  of  Loch  Broom, 
and  running  in  a  direction  from  south-west  to  north- 
east, forms  an  oblong-shaped  ground  of  about  nine 
miles  long  by  four  at  the  widest  parts.  On  the  north 
it  marches  with  Rhidorrach,  on  the  south-east  with 
Inverlael  and  Glenbeg,  while  on  each  side  of 
Leckmelm  there  is  an  unbroken  stretch  of  thirty 
miles  of  afforested  lands.  The  highest  altitude  is 
reached  on  the  summit  of  Mealldhu,  2,205  ^^^^,  the 
next  highest  hill  being  Beineiltach,  1,800  feet,  the 
base  of  which  is  well  wooded,  while  as  it  offers  splendid 
shelter  in  all  seasons,  it  is  kept  as  a  sanctuary. 

When  the  ground  was  first  afforested,  a  number 
of  hind  calves  were  reared  as  a  breeding  stock, 
which   are   still   carefully  preserved   and   fed  during 


ROSS-SHIRE.  291 


winter.  The  ground  works  best  on  a  westerly  wind  ; 
the  annual  kill  at  present  is  fifteen  stags,  which  vary- 
in  mean  weight,  according  to  the  season  ;  in  1887 
the  average  was  15  stone  6  lbs.,  and  in  1892,  14  stone 
9  lbs. ;  in  each  case  heart  and  liver  being  included. 

About  the  year  1590,  Leckmelm  was  the  scene  of 
a  desperate  fight  between  the  proscribed  Caithness 
clan  of  Gun  and  the  Earl  of  Sutherland's  men. 
The  former  were  seeking  refuge  in  the  Western  Isles 
when  they  were  overtaken  by  the  Earl's  men 
"  at  a  spot  called  Leckmelm,"  and  were  eventually 
defeated  with  such  great  loss  that  but  few  of  the 
Clan  Gun  remained  to  tell  the  tale. 

FORESTS     OF     LETTEREWE,     FISHERFIELD,      AND     ARDLAIR 
BY    ACHNASHEEN. 

This  property,  originally  belonging  to  the  Mac- 
kenzies  of  Gairloch,  was  bought  from  them  by  Mr. 
Meyrick  Bankes,  a  Liverpool  gentleman,  who  used  to 
stalk  it  from  his  yacht,  in  harbour  at  Poolewe,  while  in 
conjunction  with   the  deer  he  kept  a  large  head  of 


292  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

sheep,  well  known  for  their  excellence  of  quality. 
Mr.  Bankes,  however,  got  many  good  heads  and 
heavy  beasts  during  his  time,  but  dying  in  1880,  he 
left  Letterewe  House  with  the  policies  to  his  widow, 
while  the  remainder  of  the  forest  with  Fisherfield 
was  willed  to  one  of  his  daughters,  who  married 
a  French  gentleman  of  the  name  of  Liot,  and  Mr. 
and  Mrs.  Liot-Bankes  are  the  present  owners  of 
the  property,  which  they  let  to  Mr.  J.  F.  Laycock, 
while  they  themselves  reside  in  a  beautifully-placed 
house  on  the  shores  of  Loch  Maree.  This  ground 
was  first  let  clear  of  sheep  in  1883,  to  Mr.  Charles 
Perkins,  who  spent  large  sums  in  buildings,  improve- 
ments and  forest  paths,  to  which  Mr.  Laycock  has 
also  added  considerably.  Including  the  lands  of 
Ardlair  and  Fisherfield,  the  forest  has  an  area  of 
about  45,000  acres,  many  parts  of  which  are  very 
steep,  rough  walking,  while  other  portions  afford 
both  excellent  grazing  and  shelter.  The  stags  mostly 
winter  on  the  slopes  of  the  Loch  Maree  hills,  or  on 
the  low  grounds  near  the  sea,  while  the  hinds  chiefly 


HOSS-SHIRE.  293 


affect  the  Strathnashellag  side.  It  is  a  forest  that 
can  be  stalked  in  all  winds,  but  as  usual  an  easterly 
one  is  the  worst.  Mr.  Laycock  gets  his  bag  entirely 
by  stalking ;  he  uses  no  dogs,  and  the  deer  are  usually 
brought  home  the  same  day  they  are  killed.  Three 
and  sometimes  four  rifles  can  take  the  hill,  and  their 
average  each  season,  since  Mr.  Laycock  has  had 
Letterewe,  has  been  just  under  one  hundred  stags, 
the  best  season  being  one  hundred  and  twelve, 
which  showed  a  mean  clean  weight  of  13  stone 
5  lbs.,  but  this  would  have  worked  out  much  higher 
had  a  good  few  "rotten"  and  bad  stags  not  been 
included  in  the  list,  which,  although  they  were 
only  killed  off  to  make  room  for  better  ones,  were 
yet  weighed  and  taken  into  account. 

In  the  season  of  1895  Mr.  Laycock,  who  was 
yachting  during  the  stalking  time,  sent  a  friend 
up  to  Letterewe  with  a  limit  of  forty  stags,  which 
were,  of  course,  easily  got.  There  are  many  hills, 
ranging  from  2,800  to  2,000  ft.  On  the  south 
the   forest   marches    with    those   of   Flowerdale    and 


294  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

Kinlochewe,  the  rest  of  the  boundaries  being  sheep 
ground. 

Mr.  Laycock's  best  day  in  the  forest  since  he  first 
took  it,  in  1889,  has  been  seven  stags,  and  the  heaviest 
stag  in  that  time  was  killed  by  Mr.  Perkins  on 
the  Maighdean,  a  ten-pointer  of  20  stone  alb.  On 
Christmas  Eve,  1890,  Mr.  Laycock  shot  a  very  old, 
perfectly  milk-white  hind  that  had  been  on  the  ground 
long  before  he  came.  She  was  only  shot  from  a 
conviction  that  she  would  not  last  through  the  winter, 
for  she  had  been  barren  for  the  three  previous  seasons, 
although  in  the  years  in  which  she  had  calves  they 
were  always  of  the  ordinary  colour.  This  remarkable 
beast  has  been  set  up  whole  by  Rowland  Ward. 
Mr.  Laycock  also  got  a  light-coloured  royal  stag, 
which  was  incorrectly  spoken  of  as  "  the  white  stag." 
This  beast  he  had  previously  missed,  and  altogether 
he  had  been  shot  at  nine  times  ere  he  received  the 
fatal  bullet.  On  the  very  steep  slope  of  the 
Maighdean  Mrs.  Mitchell  Innes,  the  lessee's  sister, 
made  a  remarkable  bit  of  good  shooting  as  she  was 


JiOSS-Sff/JiE.  295 


slithering  after  the  stalker  down  the  south  side  of  this 
hill.  Some  stags  below  them  got  their  wind,  and 
breaking  in  all  directions,  Mrs.  Mitchell  Innes  picked 
out  two  of  the  best,  killing  them  right  and  left,  when 
going  at  full  gallop  in  opposite  directions,  and  though 
the  beasts  were  rightly  struck,  unfortunately  they 
rolled  down  the  very  steep  hill,  both  being  much 
smashed  up.  It  was  in  this  forest  that  the  celebrated 
deerstalker.  Black  Finlay  Macrae,  lived  with  his 
master,  Mackenzie  of  Gairloch.  It  was  his  duty  to 
keep  the  larder  well  supplied  with  venison,  which  for 
many  years  was  an  easy  matter ;  after  a  time, 
however,  Finlay  began  to  find  a  great  difficulty  in 
getting  stags,  and  eventually  he  discovered  that  some 
poacher  was  ever  in  front  of  him  in  most  of  his 
stalking  trips,  so  much  so  that  venison  became  quite 
scarce  in  his  master's  house,  while  reproaches  were 
heaped  on  him  for  his  want  of  skill.  For  a  long  time 
Finlay  had  thought  that  the  poacher  was  a  certain 
Big  Donald  Kennedy,  and  at  last  one  morning  he 
surprised  him  in  the  act  of  gralloching  a  newly-killed 


296  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

deer,  so,  creeping  close  up  to  him,  Finlay  called  out : 
"  Well,  Donald,  the  sport  has  been  yours,  but  the  deer 
must  be  mine  ! "  Donald  sprang  to  his  feet,  grasped 
the  knife  already  in  his  hand,  while  answering :  "  It 
will  just  be  the  best  man  who  will  get  it!"  Finlay 
also  having  drawn  his  knife,  the  two  closed  and  were 
instantly  locked  in  a  struggle  for  life,  which  resulted 
in  Big  Donald  being  left  dead  on  the  hill.  Finlay  at 
once  returned  home,  and  fearing  the  revenge  of 
Kennedy's  relations,  who  were  powerful  and  numerous, 
he,  his  wife,  child,  and  father  started  off  that  night 
for  Glen  Strathfarrar,  which  they  reached  in  safety  by 
dint  of  carefully  hiding  all  day  and  travelling  only 
in  the  dark,  and  then  choosing  a  convenient  place, 
they  built  themselves  a  hut  at  the  foot  of  Sgur-na- 
Lappich,  in  which  they  hoped  to  pass  the  time  till  the 
excitement  caused  among  Big  Donald's  relations  had 
subsided.  Some  months  later,  when  Finlay  was  out 
stalking,  five  of  the  Kennedys  suddenly  appeared  at 
his  hut  and  killed  Finlay's  father  and  child  while  they 
were   at   work   in  a  field    near    by.     When    Finlay 


ROSS-SHIRE.  297 


returned  home  and  saw  what  had  happened,  he  in  his 
turn  vowed  vengeance,  so  setting  out  quite  alone  for 
Gairloch,  he  discovered  who  the  five  men  were,  and  got 
a  friend  to  point  him  out  their  dwelHng.  Thither 
he  wended  his  way  towards  evening,  and  watching 
their  house  until  he  had  counted  them  all  inside,  he 
waited  patiendy  until  midnight ;  then  he  crept  to 
the  unbolted  door,  and  entering  noiselessly,  in  three 
blows  he  killed  three  of  the  Kennedys  before  they 
were  awake.  The  other  two  made  a  desperate  fight, 
but  eventually  they  also  were  slain  in  fair  combat  ; 
then  setting  fire  to  the  house,  Finlay  departed 
again  to  his  wife  and  home  at  the  foot  of  Sgur- 
na-Lappich.  Shortly  after  this,  when  Finlay  was 
working  in  his  field,  seeing  six  men  approaching,  he 
at  once  divined  their  mission,  but  being  quite  unarmed, 
he  walked  boldly  up  to  them,  to  be  met  with  the 
question  :  "  Do  you  know  which  is  the  house  of  Black 
Finlay  ?"  To  this  he  replied,  "  It  is  just  where  I  left 
it."  "  You  know  him  then  ?  "  asked  the  party.  "  No 
doubt,"  answered  the  intrepid  Finlay,  "  for  I  keep  his 

2   Q 


298  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

cattle."     "  Then  show  us  where  he  is  ! "  cried  they, 
whereupon  Finlay  led  the  way  into  his  house,  on  reach- 
ing which  he  called  out  to  his  wife,  who  had  seen  the 
approaching  party  and  quickly  guessed  their  advent 
boded  no  good,  "  Is  the  man  of  the  house  at  home  ?" 
With  ready  wit  she  said,  "  He  is  on  his  bed,  so  you  can 
come  in  if  you  want  him,  for  maybe  he  will  not  rise 
for  ye."     On  hearing  this  the  whole  party  entered  the 
house,  when  Finlay,  springing  to  where  his  gun  and 
dirk  laid,  turned  and  cried  :  "  The  man  of  the  house  is 
here — who   seeks   him .'' "     The   strangers,    taken   by 
surprise,  hastened  to  break  out  of  the  small  room  so  as 
to  get  a  better  chance  of  attacking  Finlay,  but  a  ball 
from   his  gun  killed   the   first,  the   butt-end  slew   the 
next  two  in  two  successive  blows,  and  closing  with  the 
other  three  in  a  hand-to-hand  fight,  favoured  by  the 
cramped  space,  he  mortally  wounded  two  more  of  his 
assailants,   while  the    third    fled  unhurt  to    the  hills. 
Two  such  daring  deeds,  coupled  with  the  slaying  of 
eleven  strong  men  by  his  single  hand,  earned  Finlay 
such  a  reputation  and  respect  that  he  was  ever  after 


ROSS-SHIRE.  299 


allowed  to  rest  in  peace,  so  that  eventually  he  returned 
to  the  service  of  his  master  in  Gairloch,  while  to  com- 
memorate his  prowess  the  highest  hill  in  the  district 
was  called  Ben  Fionnlaidh,  or  Ben  Finlay,  a  name 
which  it  keeps  to  the  present  day. 

On  this  estate  of  Letterewe  some  very  remarkable 
proceedings  were  taken  in  1840  by  Mr,  Bankes, 
for  the  destruction  of  a  boat-shaped  monster  called 
"  The  Beast,"  which  the  natives  declared  dwelt  in 
a  loch  on  the  property  called  "  Loch-na-beiste," 
after  the  monster.  In  the  year  above  mentioned 
a  deputation  of  Mr.  Bankes'  tenants  waited  on  him 
for  the  express  purpose  of  begging  him  to  undertake 
the  destruction  of  "the  beast,"  and  although,  as  may 
easily  be  imagined,  he  at  first  turned  a  very  deaf 
ear  to  the  suggestion,  he  eventually  yielded  later 
on  to  the  sworn  testimony  of  one  Sandy  McLeod, 
an  elder  of  the  kirk,  who  together  with  two  other 
most  respectable  people  who  were  with  him  jointly 
and  severally  vowed  they  had  seen  "the  beast," 
which  evidence  being  quickly  corroborated  by  that  of 


30O  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

Other  people  equally  credible,  Mr.  Bankes  allowed 
himself  to  be  persuaded  to  take  steps  for  the  destruc- 
tion of  the  monster.  An  attempt  was  forthwith 
made  to  draw  off  the  water  from  Loch-na-beiste, 
which  resulted  in  reducing  the  depth  to  six  feet, 
except  in  one  part  where  there  was  a  hole  of  some 
fifteen  feet  deep,  and  this  was  therefore  the  only 
place  in  the  loch  which  held  sufficient  water  to  hide 
"  the  beast."  Into  this  fourteen  barrels  of  raw  lime 
were  poured  at  once,  a  proceeding  which  caused 
the  death  of  most  of  the  trout  in  the  loch,  while 
the  "great  beast"  remained  undiscovered,  and  from 
that  time  forward  no  further  attempts  have  been 
made  to  molest  him. 

FOREST   OF   MONAR   BY   BEAULY. 

This  ground  belongs  to  Mr.  Stirling  of  Fairburn, 
who  keeps  it  in  his  own  hands.  It  has  an  area 
of  some  20,000  acres,  entirely  surrounded  by  other 
forests ;  Achnashellach  lies  on  the  north ;  on  the 
west  and  south  are  Attadale  and   Glencannich,  and 


HOSS-SHIHE.  30 « 


on  the  east  come  Struy  and  Strathconan.  I  have 
not  been  able  to  obtain  any  reliable  information  as 
to  the  number  of  stags  got,  or  their  weight,  but 
report  says  that  fifty  to  sixty  are  killed  each  season. 
The  highest  ground  rises  to  3,452  feet. 

PATT,    KILLILAN,    RIOCHAN,   AND    GLOMACH    BY    BEAULY. 

These  lands,  of  some  15,000  acres,  are  the  property 
of   Sir    Kenneth    Matheson,    who    at    one   time   let 
them    to    Lord    Lovat,    who    sub-let    them    to    Mr. 
Winans.     The    grounds    march    with   the   forests   of 
Glencannich,  Attadale,  Monar,  and  Braulen,  and  are 
very  steep  and  interspersed  with  large  mosses.     The 
lodge  is  an  out  of  the  way  place,  some  thirty  miles 
from  Beauly,  the  last  six  miles  of  the  journey  being 
most   easily   performed   in   a   boat   on    Loch    Morar. 
The  lands  of  Patt  and  Riochan  are  the  chief  haunts 
of  the  hinds,  while  those  of  Killilan  are  the  abode 
of   the    stags,    and   thus   sport   is   assured   from   the 
middle    of   August    to    the   end   of    the   season.     It 
carries    two    rifles,    who    should    get   from   forty   to 


302  THE    DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

fifty   Stags,   which  in   good   years   average    15    stone 
clean. 

THE  FOREST  OF  RHIDORRACH,  BY  ULLAPOOL. 

This  fine  deer  ground — the  pioneer  of  the  Ross- 
shire   forests — is    the   property   of   the    Countess    of 
Cromartie,   and  extends  over  some  40,000   acres   of 
rocky  hills,  deep  glens,  bold  corries,  and  occasional 
flats,    interspersed    with    many    a    loch.      Of    these 
lands,   25,000   acres   are   under   deer,   the   remaining 
15,000  acres  being  grouse  shooting  over  sheep  ground 
skirting  the  cleared  portion  on  the  west  and  north  ; 
as  however  the  forest  proper  is  not  fenced  off  in  any 
way,  deer  are  to  be  met  with  over  the  whole  place. 
The  big  glen  of  Rhidorrach,  "  the  dark  forest,"  on 
the  south  side  of  which  is  a  sanctuary  upwards  of 
three   miles   in  length,   runs   from   east   to   west   for 
some   ten   miles   through   the  centre  of  the  ground, 
the  lowest   level  of  which  varies   from  a  mile  to  a 
mile   and    a    half  in    breadth,    and   consists    of  one 
uninterrupted   stretch   of  magnificent   green  pasture. 


ROSS-SHIRE.  303 


On  either  side  of  the  glen  the  hills  are  covered  at 
their  bases  with  woods  of  birch  and  fir ;  as  the 
wood  ceases,  they  rise  in  more  or  less  steep  or 
undulating  slopes,  until  in  some  parts  they  reach 
an  altitude  of  3,000  feet.  Amongst  these  tall  hills 
may  be  mentioned  those  of  Knockdamph,  the  "  hill 
of  the  stag";  Benvrick,  the  "speckled  mountain," 
and  Beneiltach,  the  "hill  of  the  hinds."  On  the 
south  these  lands  are  skirted  by  the  deer  ground 
of  Leckmelm,  while  Corriemulzie  joins  it  on  the 
east.  Three  rifles  can  go  out  daily,  to  whom 
William  Sutherland,  the  head  forester,  strongly 
recommends  cloth  of  green  and  yellow  mixtures  as 
best  suited  to  this  ground,  where  the  bag  is 
made  entirely  by  stalking.  In  1895  the  tenant, 
Mr.  Molyneux  Clarke,  killed  fifty-three  stags,  while 
the  average  weight  of  beasts  for  the  years  1893, 
1894,  and  1895  worked  out  at  14  stone  12  lbs., 
quite  clean,  which  is  a  matter  to  be  proud  of.  A 
previous  tenant  of  this  forest,  Captain  T.  S.  Starkey, 
late   of   the    9th    Lancers — "Tom"    Starkey   of   his 


304  THE   DEER   FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

intimates,  and  with  whom  I  had  several  friendly 
tussels  behind  the  traps  in  the  days  when  he  shot" 
pigeons  so  successfully — witnessed  a  curious  incident 
in  Rhidorrach,  when  on  one  occasion  he  had  wounded 
a  stag,  which,  going  slowly  off,  while  bleeding  freely, 
was  seen  to  be  attacked  by  a  fox ! 

In  the  days  of  Mr.  Hay  Mackenzie,  of  Cromartie 
— the  great-grandfather  of  the  present  proprietrix — 
and  long  before  Rhidorrach  was  regularly  afforested, 
there  were  a  number  of  very  heavy  stags  on  the 
ground,  for  Mr.  Mackenzie  had  his  deer  fed  by 
hand  all  through  the  winter,  with  the  result  that 
stags  could  be  seen  there  as  early  as  May  with 
royal  heads  from  which  the  velvet  was  nearly 
ready  to  drop.  Two  of  these  big  fellows  became 
comparatively  tame,  and  were  christened  "Bill"  and 
"  Bean,"  one  of  them  having  a  most  remarkable  head, 
and  easily  known  anywhere.  This  beast,  imprudently 
straying  beyond  the  bounds  of  safety,  became  the 
victim  of  a  noted  deer  poacher,  who,  having  dis- 
posed   of    his    ill-gotten    meat,    became    fearful    of 


JiOSS-SHIJiE.  305 


parting  with  the  head  on  account  of  its  marked 
peculiarities.  Suspicion  at  once  fell  on  Poacher 
Finlay,  and  Mr.  Hay  Mackenzie  used  all  sorts  of 
persuasion  to  recover  the  head  of  the  missing 
stag,  until  at  length  he  was  reduced  to  offering 
the  thief  five  pounds  with  a  free  pardon — a  liberal 
bid,  which  procured  him  the  restoration  of  the  lost 
trophy.  Mr.  Mackenzie  eventually  gave  this  head 
to  the  Lord  Londonderry  of  that  period,  which  to 
this  day  is  a  treasured  ornament  of  the  walls  of 
Mount  Stuart  in  County  Down  ;  that  this  is  a 
reputation  well  earned  may  readily  be  supposed  when 
it  can  be  stated  it  had  nineteen  fine  points,  a  span  of 
40  inches,  a  right  horn  of  32  inches  in  length,  with  a 
circumference  of  7  inches  just  above  the  coronet, 
the  left  horn  being  but  a  trifle  smaller,  and  a  drawing 
of  it  still  hangs  in  the  dining-room  of  Rhidorrach. 

FOREST    OF    SCATWELL    BY    MUIR    OF    CRD. 

This    ground,    cleared    for    upwards    of    the    last 
twenty  years,  belongs  to  Sir  W.  J.  Bell,  and  extends 

2    K 


3o6  THE    DEER   FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

to  some  10,000  acres,  of  which  about  2,000  acres 
are  wood.  It  marches  with  the  forests  of  Strath conan 
and  CorriehaUie,  the  highest  ground  being  on  Carn 
William,  2,300  feet.  With  a  favourable  wind  two 
rifles  can  go  out,  while  considering  the  fact  that  this 
ground  is  on  the  extreme  outside  limit  for  deer, 
and  that  it  is  the  lowest  possible  for  them  in  the 
district,  the  kill  of  twenty  to  twenty-five  stags  of  14 
stone  each  season  is  a  remarkably  good  one,  a 
triumph  chiefly  due  to  the  fine  feeding,  coupled  with 
good  shelter,  afforded  to  the  deer  during  the  winter. 
As  large  numbers  of  hinds  from  other  forests  come 
in  to  Scatwell  to  drop  and  rear  their  calves.  Sir 
William  proves  himself  a  good  neighbour  by  not 
permitting  any  hinds  ever  to  be  shot. 


FOREST   OF   SHIELDAIG    BY   ACHNASHEEN. 

This  is  one  of  Sir  Kenneth  Mackenzie's  forests 
and  has  been  let  to  Mr.  Charles  Rudd  for  several 
years  past,   who  gave   it   up   at   the   end   of  season 


JiOSS-Sff/RE.  307 


1895.  ^t  marches  with  Torridon  and  Flowerdale, 
its  7,600  acres  being  devoid  of  wood,  or  any  hill 
higher  than  2,400  feet.  It  will  carry  one  rifle,  but 
no  information  has  been  procurable  as  to  the  total  kill 
or  weights,  though  probably  the  latter  are  similar 
to  those  of  Flowerdale  and  Torridon. 

FOREST    OF    STRATHCONAN    BY    MUIR    OF    ORD. 

The  whole  of  this  estate  of  some  73,000  acres 
was  purchased  in  1839  by  Mr.  Balfour  of  Whit- 
tinghame,  who  in  1841  commenced  to  clear  the 
sheep  off  portions  of  the  ground,  until,  in  1877,  the 
forest  covered  27,500  acres,  when  Mr.  R.  H.  Combe 
purchased  it,  and  like  Mr.  Balfour,  he  maintains 
the  same  kindly  friendship  with  his  tenants  and 
neighbours.  The  forest  is  most  wild  and  rugged, 
there  being  many  hills  over  3,000  feet,  while  as 
the  strath  is  unusually  steep  and  narrow,  it  is 
subject  to  violent  storms  and  floods.  This  ground 
has  yielded  more  than  one  hundred  stags  in  the 
season,    but    the   number   was    found   to   be   greater 


3o8  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

than   it    would   fairly   stand,    and    the    kill    has   been 
judiciously  reduced  to  seventy-five  or  eighty. 

These  lands  were  the  scene  of  the  defeat  of  one  of 
the  Lords  of  the  Isles  by  the  Mackenzies,  who  were 
routed  with  great  slaughter.  Later  on  the  forest  was 
again  a  witness  of  one  of  those  Culloden  atrocities, 
then  so  prevalent  amongst  the  victorious  soldiery 
of  the  King  of  England,  for  a  party  of  fugitives  from 
the  battle-field,  having  taken  refuge  in  a  cave  on 
Strathconan,  were  surrounded  and  smoked  or  burnt 
to  death  by  means  of  large  piles  of  lighted  heather 
placed  at  the  entrance  of  their  hiding-place. 

FOREST  OF  TORRIDON,  BV  TORRIDON. 

An  ancient  charter  of  1584  shows  that  these 
lands  then  belonged  to  the  Macdonnells  of  Glen- 
garry, while  up  to  the  present  day  nineteen  families  of 
that  name  still  dwell  in  Alligen  on  Loch  Torridon. 
It  was  one  of  these  Macdonnells  who,  when  on  a 
marauding  expedition  to  one  of  the  Western  Isles, 
being   hard   pressed   for   food,   came   on   a  party  of 


ROSS-SHIRE.  309 


natives  just  finishing  the  out-door  cooking  of  a 
savoury  meal  in  a  large  pot  suspended  over  the 
fire  from  a  tripod.  The  Torridon  man  dashed 
rashly  into  their  midst  armed  with  nothing  better 
than  an  oak  cudgel,  and  raining  blows  on  every  side, 
the  surprised  natives  fled  in  all  directions.  Thrusting 
his  oak  staff  through  the  handle  of  the  pot,  the 
famishing  hero  swung  it  from  off  the  fire  on  to  his 
back,  making  off  to  his  friends  with  his  prize,  quite 
regardless  of  scorched  shoulders. 

For  this  exploit  he  received  the  name  of  Darach 
or  Darroch,  which  is  Gaelic  for  oak,  and  from  this 
dashing  Highlander  are  descended  the  present-day 
Darrochs  —  one  of  them,  Mr.  Duncan  Darroch, 
being  now  the  owner  of  Torridon  Forest. 

In  1610  the  Mackenzies  were  in  possession  of 
Torridon,  and  at  Loch-an-Fheidh,  on  the  west  side 
of  Sgur  Dubh  in  Torridon,  a  sanguinary  battle  was 
fought  between  them  and  the  McLeods,  resulting  in 
the  nearly  total  extinction  of  the  latter-named  clan, 
whose  killed  were  buried  where  they  fell,  and  their 


3T0  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 


graves  are  still  pointed  out.  The  present  Torridon 
Forest  covers  ii,6oo  acres,  which  consist  almost 
entirely  of  high  rocky  peaks  with  deep  valleys, 
although  near  the  house  there  is  a  growing 
plantation  which  will  shortly  afford  the  deer  better 
winter  shelter  than  they  get  at  present,  which  they 
have  hitherto  found  in  the  very  deep  valleys  lying 
between  the  many  high  and  rocky  hills.  Amongst 
these  may  be  mentioned  Liathgach,  or  the  Blue 
Hill,  3,456  feet  ;  and  Ben  AUigen,  or  the  Jewel 
Hill,  3,232  feet;  while  there  are  several  others  just 
over  or  just  under  3,000  feet.  In  accordance  with 
the  prevailing  rockiness  of  this  ground,  the  best 
colours  in  which  the  stalker  can  array  himself  are  a 
Black  Mount  mixture,  or  a  very  light  green  Lovat 
cloth.  The  annual  kill  is  thirty  stags,  which  for 
the  past  twenty  years  have  averaged,  weighed  with 
heart  and  liver,  12  stone  loj  lbs.,  no  allowance 
ever  being  made  if  any  stag  happened  to  be  left 
a  night  on  the  hill.  About  1880  a  rose-coloured 
starling   or    pastor    was    shot    here,    which    is    now 


ROSS-SHIRE.  311 


in  Mr.  Darroch's  possession  at  Torridon ;  while 
later  on  in  1887  Her  Majesty  made  that  part  of 
Scotland  supremely  proud  by  a  stay  of  a  week 
at  Gairloch — a  matter  which  is  duly  and  happily 
recorded  in  "More  Leaves  from  the  Journal  of  a 
Life  in  the  Highlands." 


it€  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 


Chapter   X. 
SUTHERLANDSHIRE. 

FORESTS  OF  BEN  IIEE  AND  CORRY  KINLOCH  BY  LAIRG, 
GLENDHU,  GLENCOUL,  AND  BEN  STROME  BY  KYLE 
STROME,  GOBERNUISGACH  BY  LAIRG,  LOCH  MORE 
BY    LAIRG,    STACK    BY    LAIRG. 

The  whole  of  these  lands  belong  to  the  Duke  of 
Sutherland,  although  for  nearly  the  last  thirty  years 
they  have  been  rented  by  the  Duke  of  Westminster, 
who  keeps  the  properties  of  Lochmore,  Ben  Strome, 
Glendhu,  and  Glencoul  in  his  own  hands.  On  the 
north  these  lands  march  with  the  forests  of  Stack  and 
Gobernuisgach,  on  the  east  with  Ben  Hee,  on  the 
west  with  the  sea  and  Scourie  sheep-ground,  and 
on   the    south    with    Assynt.     Lochmore    Lodge,    of 


•, •      >  '•  J 


o 

Q 
O 


c 


u 
o 


SUTHERLANDSHIRE.  313 

which    a    drawing    is    annexed,   is   beautifully  placed 
at  the  west  end  of  the  loch  of  that  name,  with  a  grand 
look-out  on  to  the  stony  slopes  of  the  summit  of  Ben 
Arkle,   which   rises  to   2,500  feet.     The  house    was 
enlarged  and  nearly  rebuilt  in  1866,  when  the  present 
Duke  of  Westminster,  then  Lord  Grosvenor,  took  over 
the   whole  of  the  Reay  Forest  from   the  late  Lord 
Dudley,  which  ancient  hunting  ground  of  the  Lords 
of  Reay  then  consisted  of  the  properties  at  present 
forming    Ben    Hee,   Gobernuisgach,    Lochmore,    and 
Stack,  which  have  long  ceased  to  exist  as  a  whole,  and 
no  single  one  of  them  can  now  lay  claim  to  the  title  of 
"the  Reay"  forest.     From  the  time  it  came  into  the 
Duke   of  Westminster's   hands    he    has    spared    no 
pains  to  improve  the  deer,  and  in  this  he  has  been 
highly  successful,  for  when  he  took   it,  in   1866,  the 
whole  ground  yielded  130  stags,  averaging  15  stone 
7    lbs.    quite   clean,    a   very   fine    mean    weight,    on 
which    it   might   have    been    thought    impossible    to 
improve,  but   nevertheless,  in  1894,  that  good  year, 
the   same    ground    yielded    188   stags,    making    the 

2  s 


314  THE   DEER   FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

very  remarkable,  unsurpassed  average  of  i6  stone 
6  lbs. ;  and  here  also  it  may  be  as  well  to  mention 
that  both  at  Lochmore  and  Kyle  Strome  the  weigh- 
ing is  most  carefully  done,  while  it  is  but  seldom 
that  two  consecutive  days  pass  without  the  Duke 
himself  visiting  the  larder  to  witness  the  performance. 
The  following  statistics  will  show  how  quickly 
deer  increase  with  proper  treatment  and  care.  On 
the  23rd  of  October,  1884,  the  Duke  ordered  a 
count  to  be  made  over  the  whole  ground,  by  each 
forester  on  his  respective  beat,  with  the  following 
result : — 


Ben  Stack  and  Ben  Arkle  . 

Ben  Hee  .... 

Altnarynie,    a    beat   on   the 
north  shore  of  Lochmore 

Gobernuisgach  . 

Lone         .... 

Sheep-ground    . 


Others  of 

Stags. 

all  sorts. 

112 

177 

145 

607 

269 

405 

209 

410 

78 

156 

54 

126 

867 

1,881 

SUTHERLANDSHIRE. 


315 


Early   in    November  of   1894  another  count  took 


;,  which  resulted  as  under : 

Lochmore  Side 

Stags. 

35 

Others  of 
all  sorts. 

300 

Lone        .          .          .          . 

159 

347 

Altnarynie 

109 

543 

Stack  and  Ben  Arkle 

146 

239 

Kyle  Strome     . 

233 

128 

Glendhu  . 

221 

300 

Glencoul  . 

220 

138 

Gobernuisgach  . 

180 

642 

Ben  Hee  or  Merkland 

128 

800 

i.43t  3.437 
This  shows  an  increase  in  ten  years  of  564  stags, 
together  with  1,556  "others  of  all  sorts."  It  must 
not,  however,  be  overlooked  that  soon  after  1884  the 
greater  part  of  what  is  described  in  that  count  as 
sheep  ground  was  cleared,  and  appears  in  the  reckoning 
of  1894  as  Kyle  Strome,  Glendhu  and  Glencoul.  The 
forest  ground  at  present  held  by  the  Duke  will  easily 
carry  four  rifles,  and  even  five  can  take  the  hill  at  die 


3i6  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

same  time.  The  home  beat  and  Altnarynie  are  worked 
from  Lochmore ;  Ben  Strome  beat  can  be  worked 
either  from  there  or  from  the  Duke's  other  lodge  at 
Kyle  Strome,  the  two  being  some  eight  miles  apart, 
and  a  tramp  over  the  ground  separating  the  two  lodges, 
rifle  in  hand,  with  William  Elliot  as  stalker,  on  a  nice 
fine  clear  day,  is  all  that  the  most  ardent  lover  of  sport 
or  admirer  of  scenery  could  desire.  I  had  the  good 
fortune  to  make  this  happy  journey  on  the  26th  of 
August  of  last  year  (1895),  and  a  finer  combination  of 
land  and  sea  scape  it  would  be  hard  to  find.  In  ad- 
dition to  that  I  had  three  shots,  making  one  abominable 
miss  and  killing  two  good  stags,  which  weighed  that 
same  evening  1 7  stone  2  lb.  and  1 5  stone  quite  clean  ; 
both  of  them,  at  this  early  date,  were  also  absolutely 
free  of  velvet,  not  even  having  rags  hanging  about  the 
coronets,  but  while  the  horns  of  the  smaller  stag 
were  quite  black  and  burnished,  those  of  the  heavier 
deer  were  still  whiteish.  That  day  I  saw  many  other 
stags  clear  of  velvet,  and  in  season  1893  perfectly 
clean  horns  could  be  seen  as  early  as  July  20th. 


SUTHERLANDSHIRE.  317 

The  beats  of  Glencoul  and  Glendhu  are  respec- 
tively at  the  heads  of  sea  lochs  of  the  same  names, 
and,  extending  to  some  35,000  acres,  they  are  most 
pleasantly  and  luxuriously  worked  by  the  "  More 
Vane,"  "  Big  Witch,"  a  screw  steam  yacht  of  about 
65  tons ;  not  the  least  pleasant  part  of  the  day 
spent  in  these  distant  forest  beats  was  the  steam  to 
the  head  of  Glencoul,  there  to  meet  John  Elliot, 
a  brother  of  the  before-mentioned  William  of  that  ilk. 
Both  at  Lochmore  and  Kyle  Strome  the  delights  of 
punctuality  were  assured,  and  the  boat  of  the  "  More 
Vane"  was  ever  ready  at  the  quay,  with  steam  up 
to  the  very  minute  ordered,  and,  reader,  in  spite  of 
the  fifty  to  sixty  inch  rainfall  of  these  parts,  of  which 
during  my  stay  I  got  more  than  a  fair  allowance,  there 
can  yet  be  most  splendid,  brightly  sunny  days  in 
these  high  latitudes,  when  in  the  fresh  beauty  of 
such  a  morning,  with  glorious  views  all  around,  with 
sea-birds  diving  and  flying  about  in  all  directions,  the 
ten  mile  steam  to  our  respective  destinations  (for  one 
rifle  was  disembarked  at   Glendhu,  the  other  going 


3i8  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

on  to  Glencoul)  was  the  very  pleasantest  way  of 
reaching  a  forest  beat  that  it  has  ever  been  my 
lot  to  experience.  At  the  end  of  the  day  the 
return  home  in  the  dusk,  with  the  after-glow  of  the 
sunset  showing  the  black  outline  of  the  hills  against 
the  pale  sky,  while  the  throb  of  the  screw,  the  hiss 
of  the  water  surging  white  from  the  stern,  the  dim 
ghostly  forms  of  a  couple  of  dead  stags  lying  on 
the  deck,  and  the  weird  call  of  the  various  sea-divers 
startled  by  the  yacht,  all  tended  to  send  one  home 
in  a  peculiarly  happy,  contented  frame  of  mind. 
On  the  eastern  boundaries  of  these  two  beats  is  the 
hill  of  Ben  Leod,  which  is  3,579  ft.  in  height,  but  over 
the  whole  ground  there  are  other  hills  reaching  to 
nearly  3,000  ft.,  and  more  than  twenty  of  them  are 
over  2,000  ft.  In  the  bitterly  severe  winters  of  1894 
and  1895  Loch  More,  which  had  never  before  been 
known  to  freeze,  was  coated  with  four  inches  of  ice, 
while  on  Loch  Stack  in  some  places  it  reached  fifteen 
inches  in  thickness. 

The  Stack  forest  the  Duke  sub-let  for  season  1895 


SUTHERLANDSHIRE.  319 


to  Earl  Cairns,  who  is  equally  good  with  either 
gun  or  rifle.  The  lodge  is  well  placed  at  the  west 
end  of  Loch  Stack,  just  where  the  Laxford  river 
runs  out  of  it,  both  waters  being  renowned  for  their 
salmon  and  sea  trout.  The  lodge  is,  however, 
somewhat  exposed  to  the  westerly  gales,  for  when 
a  real  strong  blow  comes,  it  is  not  unusual  for  all 
the  windows  facing  the  wind  to  be  broken  by  the 
small  pebbles  driven  against  them  by  the  force  of  the 
gale.  The  tenant  is  limited  to  forty  stags,  a  number 
which  it  is  his  own  fault  if  he  does  not  get.  Ben 
Stack  and  Ben  Arkle,  one  on  each  side  of  the  Laxford, 
are  two  remarkable  steep,  stony  hills  on  this  ground. 
Ben  Hee  and  Corry-Kinloch  the  Duke  sub-lets  to 
Mr.  M.  E.  Sanderson  of  Wakefield,  and  never  did  I 
feel  more  sorry  for  any  sportsman  than  when  I  called 
on  this  gentleman  on  my  way  from  Lochmore  this 
season  of  1895,  only  to  find  him,  on  a  splendid  stalking 
day  with  no  end  of  "big  fellows"  on  the  hill,  laid 
by  the  heels  (or  perhaps  the  toes  would  be  more 
accurate),  with  a  foot  wrapped  in  wool  resting  on  a 


320  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

chair — that  horrid  and  mysterious  gout !  to  which  so 
many  of  my  friends  are  martyrs  in  spite  of  the  most 
careful  self-denial  in  diet,  whilst  I  and  many  others, 
who  eat  and  drink  without  a  thought,  never  so  much  as 
suffer  even  a  passing  pang.     Ben  Hee  is  good  for  forty 
stags,  which  are  usually  obtained;  in   1894  the  total 
was  thirty-five,  averaging  14  stone  12  lbs.  quite  clean. 
Ben  Hee  is  beautiful  stalking  ground,  with  the  lodge 
pleasantly    placed   at   the    west  end  of   Loch    Merk- 
land,  on  the  high  road  from  Lairg  to  Scourie.     Mr. 
Sanderson  is  one  of  the  best  of  tenants,  and  like  the 
Duke,  he  stops   stalking  about  the  4th  of  October, 
but   if  he  were   not   to   do  this,   he  could   easily  put 
another  score  of  very  big  deer  into  the  larder,  for  the 
north  beat  of  his  ground  on  the  green  face  sloping 
up  from  the  road  is  the  great  hind  resort  of  these 
parts,    and  as   one  drives  from  Lairg  to  Lochmore, 
or  vice  versa,  they  can  be  seen  in  such  numbers  by 
the  naked  eye  that  counting  them  without   stopping 
the  "  machine "   for  the  purpose  is  quite  out   of  the 
question. 


SUTHERLANDSHIRE.  321 

The  forest  of  Gobernuisgach,  called  "  Gober "  for 
the  sake  of  shortness,  is  situate  to  the  north  of  Loch- 
more,  and  is  sub-let  to  Sir  Walter  Corbet.  The  house 
was  built  in  1847,  somewhat  in  a  hurry,  by  the  then 
Duke  of  Sutherland,  with  a  view  of  entertaining  the 
late  Prince  Consort,  in  the  event  of  Her  Majesty  pay- 
ing a  visit  to  Dunrobin  in  the  following  year.  The 
stags  are  very  heavy,  the  bag  is  limited  to  forty,  and 
in  1893  the  first  thirty-three  beasts  Sir  Walter  killed 
averaged  17  stone  3^  lbs.  quite  clean,  which  is  the 
finest  average  weight  ever  recorded  for  such  a  number 
of  stags,  and  a  splendid  illustration  of  what  can 
be  done  on  fine  feeding  ground  worked  with  care 
and  good  management.  Apart  from  the  fact  of 
these  forests  being  admirably  suited  to  deer,  a  great 
deal  must  be  attributed  to  the  Duke's  action  in  killing 
no  stags  after  the  3rd  or  4th  of  October,  and  the 
introduction  of  fresh  blood  from  various  English 
parks. 


2    T 


322  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 


FOREST   OF   KINLOCH    BY   TONGUE. 

This   is   another  of   the    Duke    of    Sutherland's 
properties,  first   afforested   in   1890,  and  let  then  to 
Mr.  W.   E,   Lawson,  who  still  holds  it.     It  consists 
of  nearly   40,000   acres,    the   valleys   of  which   con- 
tain  birch   and   alder.     The  tops  of  the  high  lands 
are   rocky  and   sterile,   and   of  these    Ben    Hope   is 
the  highest  (3,040  feet) ;   there  are,   however,   many 
fine  grassy  corries.     It  marches  with  Gobernuisgach 
on  the  south,  while  the  boundaries  in  other  quarters 
are  sheep  grounds.     It  carries  two  rifles,  and  since 
it   was   cleared   in   the   five  seasons  ending    1894   it 
has   averaged   twenty-nine   stags,  which,   taking   one 
with   the   other,  work  out  at   14  stone  5   lbs.     The 
tenant  was   last   season  witness  of  a   cunning   trick 
on  the  part  of  a  big  stag  which  he  was  stalking  on 
a  mossy  flat,  dotted  with  many  pools  of  black  peat 
water.     The  stag  Mr.  Lawson  was  after  had  several 
hinds  with   him,   which  he  was   zealously   guarding. 
On  his  way  up  to  his  quarry  he  was  compelled  to  put 


SUTHERLANDSHIRE.  323 

away  a  small  beast,  which  ran  off  to  join  the  big  one, 
the  two  trotting  off  amicably  together,  much  to  the 
surprise  of  the  stalking  party.  The  big  stag  having 
led  his  young  friend  a  trot  of  about  half  a  mile, 
suddenly  stopped  at  the  edge  of  a  black  water  hole, 
and  then,  after  retreating  a  few  yards,  charged  the 
small  stag  broadside  on,  knocking  him  head  over 
heels  into  the  pool,  in  which  for  a  moment  staggie 
completely  disappeared  from  view  ;  eventually, 
however,  he  scrambled  out,  making  off  as  hard 
as  he  could  in  a  direction  different  to  that  taken  by 
the  big  stag. 

The  remaining  three  forests  of  this  county  all 
belong  to  the  Duke  of  Sutherland.  Ben  Armine 
by  Golspie  covers  some  35,000  acres,  and  lies 
between  the  Helmsdale  and  Brora  rivers,  and  is 
kept  in  the  Duke's  own  hands.  Glencanisp,  a  forest 
of  about  35,000  acres  of  very  fine  and  steadily 
improving  deer  ground,  marches  with  Drumrunie  on 
the  south  and  Ben  More  on  the  west ;  it  is  at  present 
rented  by  Lord  Brownlow,  who  kills  some  thirty-five 


324  THE   DEER    FORESTS    OF  SCOTLAND. 

to  forty  Stags  each  season,  and  in  favourable  ones  they 
will  make  the  heavy  average  of  nearly  i6  stone  clean. 
Uppat  Forest,  which  is  attached  to  the  Duke's  beauti- 
fully-situated house  by  the  sea  at  Dunrobin,  although 
covering  some  12,000  acres,  may  almost  be  regarded 
as  a  vast  deer  park  lying  at  the  back  of  the  castle. 
The  Duke  very  kindly  promised  me  particulars  of 
each  of  these  deer  grounds,  but  owing  to  the  illness 
of  his  friend  and  factor,  the  well-known  and  much- 
liked  Mr.  Mclver  of  Scourie,  I  have  been  unable 
to  get  details  in  time  for  publication. 


THE   END. 


LONDON  :   FSINTSD  BY  WU.  (XOWBS  AND  SONS,  LTD.,  STAMFOKS  STE£ET  ANC  CHAKINC  CKOSS. 


UNIVERSITY  OF  CALIFORNIA  LIBRARY 
BERKELEY 

Return  to  desk  from  which  borrowed. 
This  book  is  DUE  on  the  last  date  stamped  below. 


24A6'54RC 


LD  21-100ni-7,'52(A2528sl6)476 


VE  0?nr.3 


9184740 


THE  UNIVERSITY  OF  CALIFORNIA  LIBRARY 


n